PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES --
U.S. and Philippine Marines raided a small island Oct. 2 utilizing combat rubber raiding crafts during Amphibious Landing Exercise 15.
The Philippine Marines are with the 12th Marine Battalion and the U.S. Marines are with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
For the U.S. Marines, the raid was part of their Certification Exercise, a semi-annual assessment to test the capabilities of the MEU’s ability to conduct a variety of missions. This iteration of CERTEX is unique because it is running concurrently with the objectives of PHIBLEX 15.
The assessment evaluates the 31st MEU’s planning, briefing, preparation and execution processes. After the evaluation, each phase is broken into categories of accomplished, partially accomplished or mission unsuccessful, so the MEU commander and Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
The day prior to the raid, Philippine and U.S. Marines integrated and trained side by side to prepare for the mission.
“It was great working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines; within the hour of us meeting, everyone had already linked up and immediately started running rehearsals for training,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Brian T. Spillane, commander of Company L, BLT 3/5.
The mission scenario, developed by Special Operations Training Group, required the BLT to raid a small island via combat rubber raiding crafts. Once there, they had to clear and secure several houses while taking simulated enemy fire from a combined group of AFP and U.S. Marines acting as an opposing force.
“I feel this is important training for all of us because we learn different tactics," said Philippine Marine Staff Sgt. Julius Tumpag, intelligence chief with 12th Marine Bn., AFP. “It’s meaningful, and in a way, it’s also fun.
The strong alliance between AFP and U.S. Marines has made the execution of the mission a successful one, according to Spillane. “They’re a gracious, welcoming host, and I think we synched up pretty well,” said Spillane. “It’s been a productive bilateral training exercise.”
PHIBLEX 15 is being conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines alongside U.S. Marine and Navy forces to strengthen interoperability across a range of military operations to include disaster relief and contingency operations.