CAMP O'DONNELL, Philippines --
Combined Philippine and U.S. Marines conducted basic jungle survival training April 8 at Camp O’Donnell, Philippines.
The survival training is part of Balikatan 2013, an annual bilateral exercise in its 29th iteration, which offers an opportunity for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. military forces to share knowledge unique to their services.
It is the seemingly simple age-old skills of survival training that could determine whether a Marine from either nation may live or die in the jungle.
“The survival training is to instruct the Marines on the basic skills to survive in a jungle setting,” said Philippine Marine Sgt. Bimbo R. Busico, an instructor with Force Reconnaissance Battalion, Armed Forces of the Philippines. “They learned how to make traps and snares, produce fire using bamboo, create a shelter, and find food.”
The U.S. Marines were also briefed on a number of useful plants, which can be found in the Philippines and in jungle settings throughout the Asian-Pacific region, said Busico.
“Many plants can be used for food and medicine,” added Busico. “Knowing how to tell the difference between edible plants and poisonous plants could mean all the difference in your survival.”
Bamboo, a common plant found in the Asian-Pacific jungles, has a multitude of uses which can help the Marines survive, explained Philippine Marine SSgt Calixton J. Deatras, the armorer non-commissioned officer with Force Reconnaissance Battalion.
“Bamboo can be used to make traps, cook food, and create a shelter,” said Deatras. “It is a staple item which can help Marines a lot if they are ever lost.”
The Philippine Marines are very patient and thoughtful instructors, said U.S. Marine Cpl. Joi G. Pierce, a supply administration clerk with 3rd Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“They are very passionate about what they teach,” said Pierce. “The training was very thorough, and I just wish we had the opportunity to stay out in the jungle for a few days and really put the skills we learned to the test.”
The jungle survival training is just one portion of the knowledge sharing and interoperability field training exercises during this year’s Balikatan exercise.
Along with the field training exercise, nearly 8,000 Philippine and U.S. service members will be simultaneously participating in training centered around humanitarian civic assistance projects and a bilateral typhoon-based disaster relief scenario command post exercise.