News: Marines arrive in the Philippines to support PHIBLEX 14
Story by Lance Cpl. Anne Henry
CLARK AIR FIELD, PAMPANGA, Republic of the Philippines – U.S. Marines arrived at Clark Air Field, Pampanga, Republic of the Philippines, Sept. 14 to prepare for the U.S.-Philippines bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014 (PHIBLEX 14).
The Marines, from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU), 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (3d MEB) and III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), are part of the PHIBLEX 14 advanced party and will be providing vital support throughout the training areas during the exercise.
“Today, we received Marines with the 13th MEU and 3d MEB,” said Sgt. Maximilian Leigh, an embarkation specialist with Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We have been coordinating incoming flights with the Armed Forces of the Philippines ensuring everything goes smoothly when the Marines arrive.”
In order for PHIBLEX 14 to run smoothly from the start, it is critical for a solid logistics and movement plan to be in place at the beginning, according to Leigh. The main focus of the day was to ensure proper accountability of the incoming Marines and then to move them to their respective locations to prepare for bilateral training.
“What we do here is very comprehensive and involves many moving parts,” said Leigh. “As soon as the plane touches down, we are ready with a manifest and joint reception center worksheets in order to maintain accountability.”
The incoming flights provide an opportunity for the support personnel involved to do their respective jobs in a real-world, bilateral setting, helping to promote better understanding and increase interoperability.
“This whole exercise greatly benefits the relationship between the U.S. and Republic of the Philippines,” said Cpl. Trevor Felten, a joint reception center clerk with 3rd MEB. “Any time we go out on these exercises, both parties can learn from each other and understand different ways of doing things.”
PHIBLEX 14 is an annual, bilateral training exercise that enhances security and stability within the region while also helping to prepare for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. Improving interoperability and working cooperatively with the Armed Forces of the Philippines is critical, according to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Chad Mader, officer in charge, deployment distribution center, 3rd MEB.
“We have been operating well with the Philippine forces,” said Mader. “The interaction between us has been very smooth. Whenever we have needed support at the air field, they have been there on spot assisting us with bringing our forces on deck. The reason we are here is to better our forces and to work together to achieve interoperability.”