Philippines exercise wrapped up ahead of super typhoon
November 1, 2006
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — October’s bilateral exercises in the Philippines ended without a hitch last week, just days before Super Typhoon Cimaron threw a wet, windy blanket over Luzon, where the bulk of the training occurred.
“All of our training with the Philippine armed forces was conducted as planned,” said Marine Capt. Burrell Parmer, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit spokesman. “We accomplished everything, with the closing ceremony held on Saturday and the turnover of all civic engineering projects, prior to the storm closing in on us.”
Brig. Gen. Joseph Medina, commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Brigade, called the joint exercises a great success.
“They have contributed much to the training of both nations,” he said. “Whether it was bilateral training in the littoral areas, coastal patrol interdiction with the Philippine navy and marine corps … or civil military operations, our forces have demonstrated the team concept throughout.”
Philippine air force Brig. Gen. Gilbert Llanto said he particularly appreciated the exercises’ humanitarian community action projects.
“This goes to show that our forces could respond not only to defense callings, as exhibited by the conduct of this exercise, but [we’re] also capable of providing humanitarian assistance to the less fortunate inhabitants in these communities,” he said.
One of those community action projects was completed and dedicated Friday in the opening of a multipurpose facility in Zambales province. Besides the building’s construction, the U.S. and Philippine troops also provided medical and dental services for area residents and delivered donated computers and school supplies.
About 5,700 U.S. Marines and sailors took part in the annual exercises, including Marine air squadrons from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and MCAS Iwakuni, and the Okinawa-based 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Also taking part was the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group, Task Force 76, which includes the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry and amphibious transport dock ship USS Juneau — all based at Sasebo Naval Base.