Troops from Okinawa, Japan set to wrap up Philippines exercises
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — While some U.S. Marines conducted live-fire training in one part of the Philippines last week, others demonstrated how to use robots to prevent things from blowing up.
Marines with the Okinawa-based Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, were in Crow Valley in Tarlac province, central Luzon, putting rounds downrange, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Miller, an infantry weapons officer for the landing team, according to a 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit press release.
The training included using small arms, mortars, tactical vehicles and light armored vehicles, he said. Fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft provided close air support.
Meanwhile, at Clark Air Base, U.S. Marine explosive ordnance disposal experts from the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni-based Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 showed Philippine air force explosive ordnance disposal personnel how to use a robot to disable improvised explosive devices.
The demonstration was followed by hands-on training with the robot, said Capt. Burrell Parmer, public information officer for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, now participating in the biannual Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise for fiscal 2007.
Some of the Philippine airmen said they found it challenging to steer the robot remotely.
“It was difficult to control, but it was also fun,” said one student, according to Parmer. “The best part is that this training will help us recover ordnance with less risk to our lives.”
The U.S. Marines also learned something from their Philippine counterparts, said Marine Staff Sgt. Kevin Brown, according to Parmer.
“They have their own experience with dealing with an insurgency,” Brown said. “And since the U.S. has been at the forefront of dealing with IEDs in Iraq, we are giving them all the information we can pass on. However, they have already showed us stuff from their experiences that will be very helpful to us.”
About 5,700 U.S. Marines and sailors are involved in the 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 is the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group, Task Force 76’s amphibious assault ship USS Essex, dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry and amphibious transport dock USS Juneau, all based at Sasebo Naval Base. The exercises began Oct. 11 and were to conclude over the weekend.