AFP, U.S. Marines work together, perform amphibious raid
By Lance Cpl. Cristina Noelia Gil
| | April 13, 2009
MARINE BASE TERNATE, Philippines --
As part of Balikatan 09, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 48th Marine Company, 8th Marine Battalion and U.S. Marines and sailors of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit participated in a bilateral boat raid activity here April 13.
Balikatan 09 is a joint exercise that promotes unity and readiness between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States. It is designed to ensure humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts are efficient and effective.
Despite having met only hours prior to the raid, Filipino and U.S. forces displayed the utmost competency during the implementation of the amphibious operation.
“This was a true testament to our ability to work side-by-side with other nations. Everyone understood the plan and put their best foot forward to carry it out,” said Gy. Sgt. Willy Carrion, company gunnery sergeant, India Co., 3rd Bn., 5th Marines. “The AFP pretty much moved fast and furious and ramped us up.”
Arriving in several Zodiac boats deployed from the USS Saratoga, the troops stormed two beaches and secured them. Once security was established, the AFP and U.S. troops used infantry tactics to patrol the area and assault their objective.
“Each Marine force has their own style of doing things, but our primary mission is amphibious operations. That is why Marines exist,” said 1st Lt. John De La Cruz, commanding officer, AFP 48th Marine Co. “This was our company’s first time participating in something like this, and it is very exciting.”
The Marines and sailors maintained high levels of morale and enthusiasm, adding to the success of the raid.
“I am extremely impressed by the caliber of Marines we have over here on the AFP and U.S. sides. The motivation of the AFP definitely excites my Marines, and makes this worthwhile,” said Carrion, a San Juan, Puerto Rico native.
The troops look forward to working together during more training activities and using the knowledge they gain to better themselves and their units.
“We are ready to continue with the training to come and learn as much as we can from each other,” said De La Cruz.
Balikatan is a tagalong word that means “shoulder-to-shoulder” and summarizes the intent and purpose of the annual activity.
“There is no doubt that we can learn so much from other countries’ Marines,” said Carrion. “This is only the beginning of our training and we’re off to a great start.”