SOFT POWER/SMART POWER: Treating Civilians, Training Troops in the Philippines

October 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

PHIBLEX 14

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ammon Carter

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ammon Carter

U.S. and Philippine Marines slog through a jungle obstacle course during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014 (known as PHIBLEX 14) at Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim, Ternate, Cavite, in the Republic of the Philippines.

PHIBLEX is a bilateral training exercise aimed at strengthening mutual security and the long-term partnership between the United States and the Philippines. It also ensures the readiness of a bilateral force to respond to regional humanitarian crises.

The participating U.S. Marines were from Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Philippine Marines were with Force Reconnaissance Battalion.

Training was split between four areas: Clark Air Field in Pampanga; Marine Barracks Gregario Lim in Cavite; Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui in Zambales; and Crow Valley in Tarla. That exposed the Marines and sailors of the 13th MEU a wide variety of terrain.

The battalion Landing Team of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, and Philippine forces conducted vehicle maneuver tactics, live-fire training and artillery firing, as well as small boat tactics, jungle survival training, a knife fighting skills session and sweeps for improvised explosive devices (roadside bombs.

The 13th MEU’s aviation combat and logistics combat elements — Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion 13 — provided close air, logistic and medical support to the Marines training with the Filipino forces.

The final event of PHIBLEX for the 13th MEU at Crow Valley was the combined arms live-fire exercise.

Meanwhile, Marine Corps and Navy personnel provided medical treatment during a cooperative health care event at Victory Village in the Philippines’ Albay province (see photo below).

Despite continuing fiscal restraints, the U.S. military is trying to increase its presence in the Asia-Pacific region as part of the Obama administration’s strategic pivot from the Middle East and Afghanistan-Pakistan to Asia.

Another goal in current military thinking is to develop regional partners around the globe and have local militaries do the heavy lifting in future counter terrorism or counter insurgency operations, while U.S. forces maintain a “light footprint” in the conflict zone.

Countries like the Philippines, which asked the U.S. to close its bases there in the 1990s, are now moving closer to the Americans — particularly if they clashed with China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

U.S. Navy Lt. Stephanie Ellis, a family practitioner with the Marine Corps 3rd Medical Battalion, examines a Filipino woman during the  cooperative health engagement at Victory Village, Albay province. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Katelyn Hunter)

U.S. Navy Lt. Stephanie Ellis, a family practitioner with the Marine Corps 3rd Medical Battalion, examines a Filipino woman during the cooperative health engagement at Victory Village, Albay province.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Katelyn Hunter)

For more photos of the health event, click here.

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Entry filed under: Asia-Pacific, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, Disaster Relief, National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, Skills and Training, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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