PH, US troops hone aviation assault skills
Filipino and American soldiers are holding military drills in the northern part of the Philippines for three weeks to hone aviation assault skills.
The 1st Marine Air Wing of the US 3rd Marine Division and the Philippine Marine Corps’ Battalion Landing Team 1 kicked off this year’s second iteration of the Aviation Assault Support exercise last Monday, the US Embassy said in a statement on Thursday.
The Philippine Air Force also took part in the exercises.
The drills, which are now on its third year, are aimed to “enhance core skill proficiency and to increase operational readiness in ground and air operations.”
The activities include fast-rope rappelling, casualty evacuation drills, day and night platoon size raids and integrated fires training.
“It gives our guys a unique training environment that they are not used to, as well as an opportunity to learn from our Philippine counterparts,” said Lt. Col. Teodoro Apalisok, US Air Force operations officer, Joint US Military Assistance Group.
“We learn from them and they learn from us,” he added.
Marine spokesperson Lt. Antonio Belonio said one officer and 29 enlisted personnel participated in the Philippine side, but could not immediately say how many American troops joined the exercises.
A Philippine Air Force C-130 was also used for the drills.
The exercises were held at Basa Air Base and Clark Air Base in Pampanga and Crow Valley in Tarlac.
It was also the first that new US aircraft were used.
“Traditionally we have only used the MV-22 in this exercise to conduct many of the engagements. This year we will be implementing the CH-53 and UH-1Y helicopters,” said Apalisok.
Last month, the Philippines held military exercises with Japan and the US near the disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).