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Philippine and U.S. Marines loaded in U.S. Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicles hit the beach during a mechanized assault in Amphibious Landing Exercise 15 at Naval Education and Training Command, Zambales, Luzon, Philippines, Oct. 5. PHIBLEX is an annual, bilateral training exercise conducted by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines alongside U.S Marine and Navy Forces focused on strengthening the partnership and relationships between the two nations across a range of military operations including disaster relief and complex expeditionary operations. The U.S. Marines are with Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The Philippine Marines are with 4th Marine Company, Battalion Landing Team - 9.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph DiGirolamo

Philippine and U.S. Marines complete a mechanized assault at PHIBLEX 15

6 Oct 2014 | Lance Cpl. Tyler Giguere

Philippine and U.S. Marines conducted an amphibious mechanized assault as part of Amphibious Landing Exercise 15 here, October 5.

A section of U.S. Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicles departed from the USS Germantown (LSD-42) to storm the beach. Once on land, Philippine Marines disembarked the U.S. AAVs and maneuvered toward a simulated objective.

“Operating with the Philippine forces and these men, you gain an appreciation for what it takes to maintain peace and what it takes to fight,”  said Capt. Braxton H. Mashburn, the company commander of Company I, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. “The Philippine Marines are nothing but the best of professionals.”

The exercise included two AV-8B Harrier jets from Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 542 that strafed the beach front with simulated fire.  The Philippine and U.S. Marines then split into two integrated groups with U.S. Marine AAVs in support. One group provided supporting by fire while the other group encircled the objective. After the objective was seized, the Marines searched the surrounding area. 

The amphibious landing utlilized several U.S. Marine AAVs, a company of Philippine Marines and a platoon of U.S. Marines.

“Thank you to the Philippine Marine Corps for executing this bilateral exercise with us and their unbelievable support for the mission,” said 1st Lt. William D. Comiskey, a platoon commander with Company I, BLT 3/5, 31st MEU, 3rd MEB.

U.S. and Philippine Marines had 12 hours to plan and complete the assault. The partner nations utilized the rapid response planning process to prepare for the amphibious operation.

“Overall the whole exercise has gone well,” said Lt. Col. Robert C. Rice, the commanding officer of BLT 3/5, 31st MEU, 3rd MEB. “We have had good integration with the Marines and (our) Philippine counterparts”

The objective was seized in a timely manner and the mission was a success. Approximately 200 Philippine naval recruits and officers, as well as about 30 members of the media witnessed the evolution. 

“The Philippine Marines are highly proficient. This is a great team and a great bond we have created here,” said Mashburn. “It is an outstanding  opportunity that we have had here working with the Philippine Marine forces and I look forward to doing this again.”

This is the 31st iteration of PHIBLEX, with the goal of building relationships and a stronger bond between American and Philippine militaries.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit