Monday, October 18, 2010

RP-US military exercises kick off today

By Ding Cervantes
The Philippine Star, Thursday, 14 October 2010

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – Apart from their annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise which opened yesterday in Olongapo City, Filipino and US military forces are kicking off their joint Amphibious Landing Exercises (Phiblex) here today.

In a statement, the US embassy said the opening rites for Phiblex are slated at 10 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel here.

“The two-week long training will be held simultaneously in various locations in Luzon covering the areas of Cavite, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Zambales and Pampanga,” the US embassy said.

The bilateral exercises, according to the embassy, “are designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness, and continue professional relationships” between the Philippine and US armed forces.

The Philippine Marine Corps and Air Force will join US Marines from the Japan-based 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and US sailors from the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group in both the ground-air and naval integration training, it added.

In addition to these exercises, the Philippine Marines, together with other military units, will join US military personnel in community activities such as medical and dental missions, construction of schools and repair of classrooms, and beautification projects in selected communities, the US embassy said.

Phiblex activities open to media coverage include live-fire training at Crow Valley in Capas, Tarlac.

The Phiblex closing ceremonies are slated on Oct. 22 at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Meanwhile, CARAT is the US Navy’s 7th Fleet annual exercise with the Philippine Navy to improve interoperability between them.

CARAT includes amphibious landings, humanitarian civic action, subject matter expert exchanges, naval operations symposia, community service projects, and diving and salvage operations.

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