29 September 2014
U.S. Marines and sailors arrive in a high speed vessel swift at the Navy Support Depot, Subic Bay, Philippines, Sept. 19, 2014, to begin preparations for the bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) (photo : USMC)
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Okinawa-based Marines and sailors are taking part in an exercise that is designed to boost the Philippine military’s amphibious capabilities.
The PHIBLEX 15 event, which runs Sunday through Oct. 10 in the Southeast Asian country, includes a command-post exercise, field-training, live-fire practice and humanitarian and civic assistance projects, according to a Marine Corps statement.
Some 1,200 Filipino troops will be joined by 3,500 Marines and sailors from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force and the Navy’s Commander, Task Force 76.
“PHIBLEX will continue to enhance the interoperability between U.S. Navy and Marine Corps forces and their Philippine counterparts with a focus on improving our bilateral response to regional issues and maritime security crises,” the statement said.
The exercise comes at a time when the Armed Forces of the Philippines are shifting focus from counter-insurgency operations to external threats.
The island nation, which recently signed an agreement to let U.S. forces and contractors operate out of agreed locations in the Philippines for at least 10 years, has clashed with China over claims to a number of small islands and the resource-rich waters around them.