Exercise aims to build unity in Philippines
While Marines from Okinawa prepare for the start of a two-week exercise in the Philippines’ central Luzon, a team of engineers is engaged in a construction project in the remote Barangay Maruglo community of Capa, in the province of Tarlac.
A combined engineering team of 20 Marines and 15 airmen from the Philippines air force began the effort this week as part of the humanitarian-assistance portion of the Talon Vision ’04 exercise. It includes building a school, a community center and recreation facilities, according to a Marine press release.
Some 900 Marines from the 1st Marine Air Wing and 3rd Marine Division are taking part in the exercise, which starts Nov. 1. Talon Vision is a “bilateral training exercise designed to improve and maintain the interoperability, combat readiness, and enhance the professional relationships between the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces,” according to the release.
The exercise, which focuses on integrating ground and air forces, is taking place at several Philippine military installations in central Luzon, including Clark Field, a former U.S. Air Force base.
The good working relationship between the two armed forces becomes most apparent during community humanitarian projects, said Marine Maj. Rob Gomez, the Talon Vision operations officer, in the release.
The entire project was proposed and planned within a week, proving how well the two militaries already work together, he said, according to the release.
“This project brings unity between the two nations and the two groups of engineers,” said Gunnery Sgt. Raymond Davis, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge for the Marine engineering detachment involved in the project.
“We’re going to be working together throughout this whole project,” added Davis, a member of the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Force Service Support Group, in the release. “They’re going to be laying blocks and so are we.”
“It’s a good opportunity for everyone to see the two armed forces working together and build something for the kids in the community,” said Philippine air force Capt. Ronaldo Oruga. “It was also very good for the children to see the U.S. military … it is important for the community to be comfortable with seeing the U.S. military.”