News: Philippine, US Marines set sights on live-fire drills
Story by Pfc. Codey Underwood
CROW VALLEY, Philippines — Marines from both the Philippines and U.S. sharpen their marksman skills by conducting live-fire training together here during Exercise Balikatan, April 26.
Various Philippine Marine companies including 3rd Marine Company and Headquarters and Service Battalion, along with U.S. Marines from Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, executed a live-fire range in order to help each side strengthen not only their relations, but also their combat readiness.
“As Marines, we already have a bond just by carrying the title,” said Philippine Marine 1st Lt. Jimbo C. Villamor, a logistics officer with 3rd Marine Company. “No matter what your heritage or place of reassignment is, just being a Marine already brings you closer to one another.”
Shooters rushed to the firing line and after finding cover, dropped down and performed 20 pushups before beginning the drill. They then shot targets from the standing, kneeling and prone position. The live-fire drills are only a small piece of the bilateral training that has been going on for the past two weeks during BK12.
“The exchange of knowledge and expertise is not only building our camaraderie with each other but also making our forces stronger,” said Villamor. “We both traded tactics that we had learned from fighting in different environments.”
Some of the basic survival techniques while in the jungle that the Philippine Marines exchanged included water filtration, how to make and plan successful traps, and how to maintain combat readiness in a jungle environment.
Philippine Marines have been fighting in the jungle for a while and the knowledge gained from their experience is not something that can just be researched, said Philippine Marine Staff Sgt. Butch R. Leander, a drops man with Headquarters and Service Battalion.
“We showed (the U.S. Marines) a lot of what we have learned about the jungles, but at the same time (the U.S. Marines) have shown us many useful capabilities from fighting in the desert,” said Villamor. “Staying combat ready in the desert and the jungle are two completely different obstacles.”
When the exercise concludes and the Marines return to daily life, knowledge learned from both sides will be retaught to the rest of their personnel. This training improves both forces’ ability to respond quickly and work together in any scenario, from tactical to humanitarian assistance operations.
“It is really great to be here, because you are not going to experience getting to work with the U.S. and doing this kind of training as a civilian,” said Villamor.
Though the conduct of the exercise only last two weeks, U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Josef Harrison, an adjutant with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, said the training has been beneficial all around and “while making a lot of friend and acquaintances (here), we are having a great time training.”