News: Philippine, US forces rappel through bilateral training
Story by Pfc. Codey Underwood
CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines — Combined Philippine and U.S. counter terrorist and special tactics teams conducted hasty rappel training here, April 25, during Exercise Balikatan 2012.
Service members of the Philippine Air Force’s 771st Counter Terrorist Training Squadron and the U.S. Air Force’s 320th Special Tactics Squadron practiced fast rappelling, scaling ladders and pulling victim’s to safety, all from HH-60 Pave Hawks.
“The purpose of performing a good hasty rappel out of a helicopter is to get to an objective quickly where the helicopter cannot land,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Raymond J. Decker, a special operations weather technician with 320th STS. “With the skills and abilities that we train here, we can go places other troops cannot, in half the time.”
This includes terrain such as rooftops, rocky land, water and jungles with tall trees. There is not always a perfect landing zone for a helicopter to touch down so in the event of a natural disaster or other crisis, this training is a critical tool for rescue units to save lives.
“All of (771st CTTS) here are instructors and because of this, we need to know how to perform various techniques,” said Philippine Airman 1st class Roderick D. Layon, an instructor with 771st CTTS. “We continuously train in these different rescue methods in order to teach them during our classes.”
The two units are not only learning from each other, but they are also strengthening their relations with one another, according to Decker. They have been working closely together throughout BK12. This includes a variety of different types of training from small arms to jump training. They have also shared stories, concepts and meals together throughout the exercise.
“Being around the U.S. Air Force has been great,” said Philippine Airmen 1st Class Lloyd B. Pimentel, also an instructor with 771st CTTS. “Interacting now with American forces will make it a lot easier to work with them in the event of a future crisis.”
More than 6,500 Philippine and U.S. service members participated in Balikatan, which consisted of a combined post exercise, field training exercise and humanitarian civic assistance projects more than 22,000 people in the Philippine community.