TAGLAWAYAN BEACH, PALAWAN, Republic of the Philippines --
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, currently in support of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, worked with the Philippine Marines to conduct a boat raid here Oct. 27 as a part of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2012.
PHIBLEX is an annual bilateral training evolution meant to keep the relationship between U.S. and Filipino Marines strong.
“We have been doing PHIBLEX for 28 years, and the importance of the exercise is that we build interoperability with our Filipino counterparts,” said Brig. Gen. Craig Timberlake, the commanding general of 3rd MEB.
During this training event, U.S. and Filipino scout swimmers swam ashore to clear the immediate area of any threats and set up security. Once they were given the all clear, a wave of Marines rushed to raid the beach using their Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Crafts.
“We do this training in order to be prepared for whatever task or mission that may come our way,” said Brig. Gen. Eugenio N. Clement, AFP deputy commandant, Philippine Marines. “We like to do this over and over to keep up proficiency in our operations. We have 7,107 islands in our country so it is important to know the tactics of retaking an island.”
According to members of the MEU, this training is beneficial to the U.S. Marines as well as their Filipino counterparts because it keeps them prepared at all times.
“The nature of all Marines, whether Filipino or American, is to be amphibious,” said Clement. “That is why conducting this training is so important.”
The training not only prepares both forces for future missions but it helps them become more comfortable working together.
“There is something special about training with the Philippine Marines,” said Timberlake. “They operate very much like U.S. Marines.”
“We have worked with them for a long time – they do what we do – and they train like we train,” he said.
According to Timberlake, the U.S. has trained with the Armed Forces of the Philippines many times in the past and will continue to train with them in the future.
“We definitely value our partnership with the Philippines and the Marine Corps will continue to train with the Philippines any time we are asked to,” he said.
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