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Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron/combat mobility element, Kadena Air Base, Japan, transport a container delivery system (CDS) after it landed at a drop zone during a low altitude airdrop training at Basa Air Base, Philippines, during exercise Balikatan 2004.
Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron/combat mobility element, Kadena Air Base, Japan, transport a container delivery system (CDS) after it landed at a drop zone during a low altitude airdrop training at Basa Air Base, Philippines, during exercise Balikatan 2004. (Courtesy of USAF)
Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron/combat mobility element, Kadena Air Base, Japan, transport a container delivery system (CDS) after it landed at a drop zone during a low altitude airdrop training at Basa Air Base, Philippines, during exercise Balikatan 2004.
Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron/combat mobility element, Kadena Air Base, Japan, transport a container delivery system (CDS) after it landed at a drop zone during a low altitude airdrop training at Basa Air Base, Philippines, during exercise Balikatan 2004. (Courtesy of USAF)
Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron/combat mobility element, Kadena Air Base, Japan, recover a container delivery system (CDS) at a drop zone at Basa Air Base, Philippines, during exercise Balikatan 2004.
Airmen from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron/combat mobility element, Kadena Air Base, Japan, recover a container delivery system (CDS) at a drop zone at Basa Air Base, Philippines, during exercise Balikatan 2004. (Courtesy of USAF)
A lone Marine stands guard as Filipino Marines land on the beach at Marine Base Ternate in the Republic of the Philippines. More than 300 Marines landed on the beach and will train with the Filipino Marines for two weeks during Exercise Balikatan 2004.
A lone Marine stands guard as Filipino Marines land on the beach at Marine Base Ternate in the Republic of the Philippines. More than 300 Marines landed on the beach and will train with the Filipino Marines for two weeks during Exercise Balikatan 2004. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)
Marines walk to shore off a Landing Craft Utility at Marine Base Ternate Monday.
Marines walk to shore off a Landing Craft Utility at Marine Base Ternate Monday. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)
A CH-46 from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-262, based out of Okinawa, Japan, flies off the coast of the Republic of the Philippines a day prior to the opening of Exercise Balikatan 2004. More than 2,500 U.S. and 2,300 Filipino military personnel are taking part in the two-week annual exercise.
A CH-46 from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-262, based out of Okinawa, Japan, flies off the coast of the Republic of the Philippines a day prior to the opening of Exercise Balikatan 2004. More than 2,500 U.S. and 2,300 Filipino military personnel are taking part in the two-week annual exercise. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

MARINE BASE TERNATE, Philippines — As more than 700 U.S. Marines and sailors poured onto Philippine shores this week for their annual joint exercise with Philippine marines, Philippine Col. Natalio Ecarma said it’s important for the forces to train together because he believes they’ll someday operate together.

And each has something to learn from the other, troops from both countries said.

“We know the area, you have the equipment ... we can help you, and you can help us,” Ecarma said. For instance, he pointed out, Philippine marines are well-trained in fighting insurgency and terrorism, which require far different skills from conventional warfare.

The United States “is experiencing an insurgency problem right now in the Middle East,” he said. “We have this experience we’d like to share.”

And, the Philippines colonel said, “We’d like to learn how to use the modern equipment” such as night-vision goggles “that we plan on procuring for our armed forces modernization program.”

U.S. forces also are to learn jungle survival from the Armed Forces Philippines marines, said Engineer Platoon commander 1st Lt. Michael Robertson — and his Marines would teach the Filipino forces about demolitions.

While the Marines are training on land, 61 AFP Navy personnel will spend two weeks on the USS Fort McHenry, training with the U.S. Navy. The McHenry is from Sasebo Naval Base, Japan.

“I’m looking forward to joining the group,” said AFP Navy Lt. Cmdr. Emmanuel Manuel, officer in charge of the cross-deck training. “I wish to be exposed to the latest equipment. ... We’re always excited to have exercises with the U.S. Navy.”

The U.S. and Philippine forces also will focus on amphibious operations training, planning processes and techniques and logistics, said AFP Marine Capt. Rommel Abrau, public information officer. The troops will train each other in their forms of martial arts; a U.S. Navy underwater team will train AFP Navy and Marine divers.

The joint training should develop the two forces’ ability to work together, Abrau said. “It’s important that we develop rapport and long-lasting friendships.”

Ecarma said training with “brother Marines” is different but made easier because the two forces share the same ideals.

“We share the same attitudes, we have the same levels of training and the same standards,” Ecarma said. “The only difference is, of course, we’re Orientals and you’re Westerners, and you have equipment and we don’t have that much ... but we’re innovative and flexible to adjusting to different situations.”

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