News: Ground combat element Marines arrive in Philippines for PHIBLEX 14
Story by Lance Cpl. David Hersey
ZAMBALES, Philippines - A high-speed vessel, carrying ground combat element Marines, landed at Olongapo City, Zambales, Republic of the Philippines Oct. 1, for the Marines to participate in Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014.
PHIBLEX 14 is a bilateral training exercise designed to demonstrate the commitment of the United States and Republic of the Philippines to mutual security and to ensure the readiness of a bilateral force to rapidly respond to regional humanitarian crises.
The ground combat element’s role in the exercise is to conduct bilateral training with Philippine Marines in order to enhance interoperability, according 1st Lt. Abraham P. Webb, a platoon commander with 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, which is currently part of 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“We came to train alongside the Philippine Marines and support them with whatever we can,” said Webb. “Whether that’s tactics, logistics or humanitarian efforts.”
The training performed during the exercise will help the Marines to work together with Philippine forces should any crisis arise, according to Staff Sgt. Sterling A. Elliot, a platoon sergeant with the regiment.
“Marines are a force in readiness,” said Elliott. “This training helps us to fulfill that role by exchanging our tactics, techniques and procedures, and learning to work together (effectively with members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines).”
The exercise benefits both the U.S. and Philippine Marines, according to Lance Cpl. Matthias S. Lafritz, an engineer equipment electrical systems technician with 7th Communication Battalion, III MEF Headquarters Group, part of 3d MEB, III MEF.
The training will build relationships with Philippine service members as well as give us experience we can use if we work together during a crisis, said Lafritz.