U.S. Marines get high marks from Philippine counterparts
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Many Philippine marines and airmen got their first taste of using pistols in live-fire, close-quarters battle training this week that was part of the annual Talon Vision bilateral exercises in the Philippines.
They were put through their paces by Deep Reconnaissance Platoon Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from Okinawa.
About 4,500 U.S. Marines and sailors with the 31st MEU are with Sasebo Naval Base’s Amphibious Squadron 11 for the Oct. 18-23 Talon Vision exercise and Amphibious Landing Exercise 2006, which started Friday and ends Nov. 1.
Talon Vision is designed to improve cooperation, readiness and professional relationships between the two countries’ military forces, according to 31st MEU spokesman Capt. Burrell D. Parmer.
The Philippine marines said they enjoyed the chance to do some close-quarters training with their U.S. counterparts.
“If we’re going to learn close-quarters combat, I want to learn from the U.S. Marines,” said Philippine Staff Sgt. Francisco Ramirez, according to Parmer. “They know what they are doing.”
“This was my first time shooting with a .45(-caliber) pistol,” said Pfc. Diego Boncales in a Friday news release from the 31st MEU.
“The U.S. Marines are the best to learn from, so I’m glad they were my teachers.”
U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Howe, 31, a platoon team leader from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, said in the release: “It gives everyone a chance to see each other’s capabilities and ensures we set a strong presence and example.”
Participants fired 200 to 300 rounds on a short-distance firing range starting at 30 yards away and progressively moving as close as 3 yards, using both pistols and rifles.
The U.S. Marines said they were impressed by what they saw.
“These guys see a lot of action,” said Cpl. Michael Petrucci, 20, of Long Island, N.Y. “Anyone in the same boat as us — as far as the fight against terrorism goes — I’ll teach them how to shoot.”
Following the live-fire drills, Parmer said, the Marines practiced their urban warfare skills in a “kill house” facility — a building in which close-quarter battle is simulated.