PH, US troops hold war drills in Tarlac, Cagayan
MANILA, Philippines — Almost 9,000 Filipino and American troops have been training together to increase combat readiness and interoperability in various joint drills for this year’s Balikatan, an annual military exercise designed to improve response effectiveness.
Last week, the two militaries concluded major events — combined arms live-fire exercises (Calfex) in Crow Valley, Tarlac, and amphibious assault operations in Claveria, Cagayan — a practice of combat operations in a scenario of enemy invasion.
“We conducted the Calfex to improve our interoperability during combined and joint operations. This is one way of ensuring that we can operate jointly with our allies,” said Gen. Andres Centino, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He added, “This also serves as an opportunity for us as we are procuring new equipment; we are able to test our new weapons and armaments.”
Other smaller exercises are being held in several military camps in Luzon.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) said that aside from training for offensive counter air and defensive counter air operations, it also conducted exercises on tactical airlift and airdrop, mass casualty evacuation, cybersecurity and radar and radio operations, among others.
Col. Ronie Petinglay, deputy commander of the PAF Air Defense Command, met with Col. Matthew Dalton of the 38th Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Brigade on March 30 to discuss air defense capabilities.
The 38th ADA last week deployed for the first time a Patriot air and missile defense system in Aparri, Cagayan, through amphibious insertion.
The ADA also conducted a subject matter exchange for defensive counter air operations with the PAF’s Air and Missile Defense personnel to discuss best practices.
The armies of the two countries trained for counter-improvised explosive devices and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats through practical exercises and lectures at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the Philippine Army said.
Filipino and American troops also conducted free fall and static line airborne to simulate securing an airfield in Cagayan, as part of a combined special operation force event.
The 12-day exercise will run until April 8.
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