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Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board the USS Tortuga on Thursday at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa. They are bound for the Philippines for the annual Talon Vision exercises.

Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board the USS Tortuga on Thursday at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa. They are bound for the Philippines for the annual Talon Vision exercises. (Richard Blumenstein / USMC)

Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board the USS Tortuga on Thursday at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa. They are bound for the Philippines for the annual Talon Vision exercises.

Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit board the USS Tortuga on Thursday at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa. They are bound for the Philippines for the annual Talon Vision exercises. (Richard Blumenstein / USMC)

Cpl. Justin Molmen, of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, boards the USS Tortuga. Some 6,500 Philippine and U.S. servicemembers will take part in the joint exercises and community outreach projects.

Cpl. Justin Molmen, of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, boards the USS Tortuga. Some 6,500 Philippine and U.S. servicemembers will take part in the joint exercises and community outreach projects. (Richard Blumenstein / USMC)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit loaded onto ships of the 1st Essex Expeditionary Strike Group, Task Force 76, from Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, this week in preparation for this year’s Talon Vision exercises in the Philippines.

Some 6,500 Philippine and American servicemembers will participate in the annual joint military exercises and community outreach projects, which start Monday and end Oct. 31.

Officially called Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise FY08, the joint training is designed to “improve interoperability between U.S. forces and the Armed forces of the Philippines, as well as increase readiness and strengthen the professional relationships between the two countries,” according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

The exercises, which will involve amphibious landings, airborne operations, convoy operations and jungle survival, are to take place at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City; Crow Valley in Capas, Tarlac province; Clark Field in Pampanga; Subic; and Zambales and Ternate in Cavite province.

The community outreach projects scheduled for this year will include repairing buildings and painting classrooms in schools in the Olongapo-Subic Bay area and providing free medical and dental clinics in the communities of Capas, Palayan City, Ternate and Laguna, according to the embassy.

The American contingent includes about 2,700 Marines aboard the USS Juneau, USS Tortuga and USS Essex.

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