News: Survival of the fittest at PHIBLEX 14:Philippine Marines teach U.S. Marines jungle survival skills
Story by Lance Cpl. Jose Lujano
NAVAL STATION LEOVIGILDO GANTIOQUI, SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES,Republic of the Philippines - For over a decade U.S. Marines have been committed to the conflicts in the Middle East, but as the focus shifts to the Asia-Pacific region, the ability to fight and survive in the jungle regains its importance.
Philippine instructors led a jungle survival course for U.S. Marines Oct. 10 at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, San Antonio, Zambales, Republic of the Philippine, during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014.
Philippine and U.S. Marines train side-by-side during PHIBLEX 14 to ensure they are capable of working together effectively to conduct humanitarian assistance and regional security operations.
The Philippine instructors are with Force Reconnaissance Battalion, Philippine Marine Corps. The U.S. Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, which is currently assigned to the ground combat element, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The course taught the Marines about identifying medicinal plants, procuring food and water, making shelter, starting a fire, and assembling traps and snares, according to Philippine Marine Sgt. Jimmy S. Seriote, a course instructor.
“Food, water and shelter create the backbone to jungle survival,” said Seriote. “We teach that in the jungle, three weeks without food or three days without water is dangerous, even deadly.”
The course was designed for the U.S. Marines to leave with new knowledge that can be used during future jungle training or operations in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The current generation of Marines are focused on desert environments due to the war on terror,” said Sgt. Timothy C. Marlow, an anti-tank missileman with 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “However, now that it’s winding down, it’s important to broaden a lot of the Marines’ perspective by giving them a taste of the jungle.”
The beginning of the course focused on simple tips for living off the jungle’s available food sources.
“While there are common animals to eat from in the jungle, other animals had never crossed my mind, like lizards or frogs,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob M. Gunderson, a machine gunner with 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “In the case of life or death, taste is my last concern.”
The instructors also emphasized that not all food comes from animals; rather, the surrounding vegetation can also serve as a vital source of nutrition.
“Even if the individual is a bad hunter, the jungle’s vegetation can provide water, medicine and a source of nutrition,” said Marlow. “The best part about it is that it won’t run away from you, so you will not exert unnecessary energy hunting. This employs good logic since plants are the simplest source of sustenance to attain.”
Besides using plants as a source of food, they can also be used for medicine. They can be used to repel insects and treat stomachaches, headaches and fevers, according to Marlow.
Another important key to survival is finding water. The instructors demonstrated various methods for acquiring it.
“We were taught several ways to get drinking water from odd places,” said Gunderson. “We saw that we can drink water from a coconut, nonpoisonous vines, sugar cane, trunks and bamboo. These are important tips because consuming dirty water can result in life-threatening illnesses.”
During the course, the Philippine instructors led the U.S. Marines on a walk through the jungle where several traps and snares were setup for demonstration.
“The traps and snares that were setup were small, easy to make but effective in catching small prey,” said Marlow. “Morale increases when you get to eat a cooked meal.”
At end the course, Philippine and U.S. Marines started a friction fire using bamboo.
“Besides poisonous foods, contaminated water, dangerous animals or insects, the weather can turn and make a jungle survival scenario treacherous, so shelter and a warm fire can be a factor in not letting your body go cold—dead,” said Gunderson.
The jungle survival course provided the opportunity for the U.S. Marines to learn new skills while enhancing their relationships with the Philippine Marines. It also refocused their effort to be able to fight in any clime or place.
“Just like any other fight, the fight for life in the jungle is originally won in the mind (and with these skills we can),” said Marlow.
This work, Survival of the fittest at PHIBLEX 14:Philippine Marines teach U.S. Marines jungle survival skills, by Cpl Jose Lujano, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.