News: 31st MEU learn jungle survival from Philippine Marines
Story by Lance Cpl. Codey Underwood
CROW VALLEY, Philippines – Deep within the jungle where comfort is a rare luxury, where food, water and shelter is essential, U.S. troops learn practical jungle survival techniques from their Philippine counterparts to tame a seemingly unmanageable environment.
Marines and Sailors with Company G., Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, participated in a jungle survival class instructed by Philippine Reconnaissance Marines here, Oct. 12.
The jungle survival course showed the troops useful tactics in the harsh, dense environment. Hiking into the jungle, the Marines and Sailors were led to a shelter. This survival shelter showcased how to cope with the jungle climates using various materials indigenous to the Philippine jungle, including: bamboo shoots, vines, grass and banana tree leaves. Surrounding the shelter were several types of animal traps intended to catch lizards, squirrels and chickens. During the tour of the camp site, the instructors exhibited how to craft and set traps. The conclusion of the demonstration involved instruction on how to create hand-made survival tools ranging from containers to cutlery.
“It is not every day that these Marines get the chance to learn this survival knowledge,” said Cpl. Aaron Jimenez, a team leader with Co. G., 2/1 and a native of Silverado, Calif. “Since the Marine Corps is pulling out of Afghanistan, we need to start looking at the other climates.”
After the tour, the troops were shown how to rummage for food and to discern what is edible. Food preparation techniques included creating a fire using bamboo kindling, how to carefully open a coconut, as well as how to cook snake and rice over a fire. With enough food for the entire group, the men sat around the fire, enjoying their warm meal cooked ‘jungle-style.’
“These Marines showed that they can adapt to this climate really quickly,” said Staff Sgt. Calixton Deatras, the armory non-commissioned officer for the Force Reconnaissance Battalion, Philippine Marine Corps, and a native of Iloilo City, Philippines. “This knowledge will not only benefit them, but also improve our ability to fight together.”
The Marines and sailors of the 31st MEU are conducting the 29th iteration of the Philippine Bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise alongside their Philippine Marine counterparts in order to improve the two forces’ interoperability and strengthen their long standing relationship.
“As the battalion landing team, we can be deployed anywhere in the Asia-Pacific, where there’s a lot of jungle,” Lance Cpl. Julio Velasquez, mortarman for Co. G., BLT 2/1, 31st MEU and a native of Riverside, Calif. “Working with the Philippine Marines has been a good experience for me. They’re fun, they have good techniques and they can teach us a lot about the jungle.”
The 31st MEU will continue to train alongside the Philippine Marines throughout the two week exercise, integrating the skills gained here into future operations. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.