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    A Bridge Across the Pacific: A Philippine Native and U.S. Marine returns home

    ACDC: Final Exercise

    Photo By Sgt. Shaina Jupiter | U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Jonathan Dumadaug, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine...... read more read more

    BARIRA, PHILIPPINES

    05.28.2024

    Story by Sgt. Shaina Jupiter 

    13th Marine Expeditionary Unit   

    BARIRA, Philippines – Born and raised in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, Jonathan Dumadaug would return 34 years later, but now in the uniform of an elite fighting force, the United States Marine Corps.
    Dumadaug first felt inspired to join the Marine Corps by his uncle, a Philippine Marine who once fought against the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front rebels in Camp Abubakar in 2000. The impact that civil unrest in the region had on his upbringing drove Dumadaug to find a bigger sense of purpose.
    “I can’t just sit here and be comfortable when threats over the world are getting bolder,” said Dumadaug. “I'd rather be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a battlefield.”
    After spending 31 years in the Philippines, Dumadaug and his cousin immigrated to the United States. There, he made the vow to protect the country he now calls home while also discovering the door of opportunity to work side-by-side with his motherland. He knew the Marine Corps would provide him with the sense of purpose he desired.
    “I want to see what I'm really made of, and I want to be the best version of myself by going through the hardest training,” said Dumadaug. “I believe the best inside of us will be seen with constant pressure and friction.”
    Dumadaug was recruited out of South Pulaski, Chicago, Illinois, and was older than the maximum age requirement for the Marine Corps. Still, after proving his physical fitness to his recruiter, Dumadaug obtained a waiver enabling his enlistment into the Marine Corps.
    Now a private first class in the Marine Corps, he serves as a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, based in the dry desert of Twenty-nine Palms, California. Given the 1st Marine Division’s geographic area of focus, Dumadaug found his way back to the rich green jungles of the Philippines.
    Along with the Marines of “Animal” Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Dumadaug participated in Archipelagic Coastal Defense Continuum, which is a series of bilateral exchanges and training opportunities between the U.S. Marines and Philippine Marines aimed at bolstering the Philippine Marine Corps’ Coastal Defense strategy while supporting the modernization efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 1/7 Marines conducted various events such as combat marksmanship ranges, close-quarters combat drills, jungle survival training, and jungle operations alongside the Philippine Marine Corps, Army, and National Police on Camp Iranun, previously known as Camp Abubakar.
    “I get to experience working with our partners. It's awesome learning their ways while we teach them ours,” said Dumadaug. “It’s good to see how we exchange best practices to be better at what we do and enable us to better operate together.”
    Dumadaug’s journey came full circle as he stepped foot on the same grounds his uncle once fought on while also teaching and learning from his Philippine counterparts, hearing stories of valor, and making lasting relationships with allies and partners as an infantryman. Humbled by his Filipino counterparts who had experience on the battlefield, Dumadaug felt driven to further his job proficiency.
    Throughout ACDC, Marines with 1/7 traveled to Division Training School near Cotabato City to fire long-distance ranges with service members of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, and Philippine Marines with 1st Marine Brigade. During this time, Dumadaug reunited with his cousin, Maj. John Bravo, the current Chief of Police for Cotabato City.
    “All the police who trained with us are his people, and it was an honor to have him visit knowing that he has a busy schedule,” said Dumadaug.
    ACDC was not only a training opportunity for Dumadaug, but also a chance to reunite and celebrate with his family, who lived dispersed in various locations in the island chain such as Barira, Cotabato City, and Manila. He also had the chance to speak his native language with his Filipino counterparts and learn how to be a better warfighter through the eyes of Philippine Marines, fostering the bond between two nations.
    “I was raised in Manila, but my parents grew up in the island of Negros and the predominant tribe there are the Ilonggos,” said Dumadaug. “They speak a different dialect, so coming to Camp Iranun, I was thrilled to know that many of the Philippine Marines were from my tribe.”
    Additionally, the Marines of “Animal” company participated in a community relations event as part of ACDC at Abubakar Siddique Elementary School, giving the students various supplies, food, water, and party games. Dumadaug was able to give back to his community and played a crucial role in the event by translating for the 1/7 battalion executive officer to the local Filipino audience.
    Traveling back across the International Date Line, not only as a Philippine native, but as a U.S. Marine, Dumadaug has exemplified the connection between both countries. His ambition and humility has taken him across the Pacific Ocean and back, but this time as an individual with a sense of purpose.
    “My biggest takeaway from this unique experience is that it’s important for the U.S. armed forces to keep working with [their] partners to enhance interoperability, and to show our adversaries we are working together in unison,” said Dumadaug. “There will always be strength in unity.”

    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.28.2024
    Date Posted: 06.06.2024 01:23
    Story ID: 473192
    Location: BARIRA, PH
    Hometown: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, US

    Web Views: 1,534
    Downloads: 4

    PUBLIC DOMAIN