SAN MIGUEL, Republic of the Philippines --
Amphibious Assault Vehicles navigated through the beach surf zone, and then roared ashore in a spray of sand and foam as Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted a bilateral amphibious landing with the Philippine Marine Corps.
The beach landing was part of the 31st MEU’s Amphibious Integration Training and allowed the bilateral forces to train together.
As the AAVs maneuvered out of the Pacific Ocean and onto an isolated beach at a Philippine Navy base, helicopters with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (Reinforced) 262 circled overhead.
After pushing ashore, the Marines conducted a training assault on their objective, an isolated building complex where simulated enemy were hiding. Both Philippine Marines and U.S. Marines could be seen securing the area, weapons at the ready, and teamwork was evident.
“The partner-nation Marines were successful in integrating basic squad and platoon actions during the amphibious landing,” said Capt. Cory Holiday, lead exercise planner, 31st MEU. “This helped the Philippine and U.S. Marines as they both learned the other’s way of doing business.”
AIT prepares Marines from the Philippines and the U.S. to participate in the upcoming Amphibious Landing Exercise, but it also has real-world applications. The training conducted today assists in preparing the Armed Forces of the Philippines for real world operations in other regions of their country. It also prepares the U.S. and Philippine forces to work together if there is a natural disaster. The 31st MEU responded to assist with recovery efforts after Typhoon Ondoy hit here in 2009.
The 31st MEU is scheduled to participate in PHIBLEX from 14 – 22 Oct. in and around the island of Luzon.
PHIBLEX is conducted to enhance bilateral cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain the MEU’s ability to effectively respond to a number of contingency operations in and around the area, and to keep the skill of the individual Marines sharp and ready for use in potential real-world scenarios.
“We conduct amphibious training during PHIBLEX because practicing our teamwork is an important factor in military operations involving more than one country,” said 1st Lt. Ramon Deleon, AAV platoon commander, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 31st MEU. “We want to be always ready for anything and always faithful to respond as needed.”
The 31st MEU is the U.S.’s only continually-forward deployed MEU and together with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, is responsible for responding to crises in the Asia-Pacific region.
For more photos of this exercise and to the latest news from the 31st MEU, visit the MEU’s Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Okinawa-Japan/31st-Marine-Expeditionary-Unit/115253045176016.