CLARK AIR BASE, Republic of the Philippines --
U.S. and Republic of the Philippines Marines, Army and Air Force held the opening ceremony for the Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011 commencing PHIBLEX.
About 60 U.S. and Philippine Marines, Army, Air Force, civilians and media came to watch the ceremony and show support.
The purpose of PHIBLEX is to test both countries interoperability, present learning opportunities and develop friendships between the U.S. and RP Marines.
U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, commanding general, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and special guest at the event, said during the ceremony, “Our goal for PHIBLEX 2011 is to help the U.S. and Republic of the Philippines grow as allies and to honor our long-standing alliance.”
What started in 2003 as a single event became an annual training exercise, and now the 31st MEU continues to build camaraderie with the Philippine forces. U.S. and Philippine Marines are able to continue sharing ideas and learning about one another, free of walls or boundaries.
“We continue to support one another during our operations, and are always learning from each other on exercises like these,” said Sgt. Maj. Jayme Winders, sergeant major, 31st MEU. “During these next few days the U.S. and RP Marines will be working side by side, getting to know more about each other and how each service works, which will assist in future training and real life operations.”
Winders also said that PHIBLEX 2010 went very well and that teamwork would fuel this year’s success.
After a year in the planning process, service members from both countries have already began working beside each other and have accomplished many small missions including a few humanitarian operations including the construction of two new schools in Pampanga.
The 31st MEU is 3d MEB’s ground combat element for the duration of PHIBLEX ‘11 and remains a force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.