News: Balikatan 2012 comes to an end
Story by Lance Cpl. Alyssa N. Gunton
PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN, Republic of the Philippines—Service members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Task Force Palawan joined together to commemorate the completion of Balikatan 2012 (BK12), April 26, 2012, on Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Republic of the Philippines.
The event was a celebration of the various achievements that the men and women of both the Philippines and the U.S. armed forces were able to accomplish.
BK12 is an annual bilateral training exercise designed to build the combined interoperability between Philippine and U.S. military members. This year marks the 28th iteration of the nations’ exercise.
“I was able to take the Combat Life Saver course and Convoy Operations course and I learned a lot from them,” said Airman 1st Class Madgzher M. Jabbar, a military policeman with 5711 Security Forces Squadron, Philippine Air Force. “This advanced my knowledge and I hope I will be in Balikatan again.”
Exercise Balikatan 2012 officially began, April 16, 2012, and ended April 27, 2012. In that short amount of time, the two nations were constantly working and training with one another.
“I’ve had an amazing opportunity with the Filipinos. I’ve learned so much that will help me with future things in my job and I’ve also made lasting friendships,” said Cpl. Vorn Kun, a motor transportation mechanic, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
After continuous hands-on training for the past several weeks, the service members came together to celebrate with one another.
“I look forward to the next training and exercises here,” said Philippine Air Force Col. Raymundo D.V. Elefante, the deputy wing commander of the 570 Composite Tactical Wing, Philippine Air Force. Raymundo went on to explain a Palawan saying that means everyone wants to come back. “The U.S. troops are always welcome back here.”
BK12 took place in multiple regions throughout the Republic of the Philippines and included humanitarian civic assistance, ground military training operations and a natural disaster response command post exercise.