Philippine, US Marines conduct bilateral artillery live-fire exercise
By Cpl. Courtney G. White
| Marine Corps Installations Pacific | April 17, 2013
CROW VALLEY, Philippines --
Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Marines conducted artillery live-fire training with M777A2 155 mm and M101 105 mm howitzers April 12 at Crow Valley, Republic of the Philippines.
The live-fire training was part of Balikatan 2013, an annual bilateral exercise in its 29th iteration, which provides a venue for the AFP and U.S. militaries to develop and continue to enhance interoperability across a wide range of military actions. The purpose of the live fire was to see how each military executes artillery operations.
“Alpha Battery and their Philippine Marine Battery counterparts are conducting a live-fire shoot with our M777A2 155 mm howitzers and their M101 105mm howitzers,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Ricardo R. Bitanga, the executive officer for Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “This also happens to be the first day the Philippine Marines have brought out their cannons for live-fire.”
Philippine and U.S. Marines took turns demonstrating their equipment.
“We learn from them, and they learn from us,” said Bitanga. “We are able to help each other refine the tactics, techniques and procedures we set when dealing with artillery.”
The bilateral training allows each nation to share their knowledge and skills, added AFP Marine 1st Lt. Jay B. Jubilan, officer in charge of the Marine Artillery Battery, Philippine Marine Corps.
“You can always learn new techniques, skills and procedures which can help mold and refine operations,” said Jubilan. “There is an infinite amount of knowledge out there and being able to work with other nations allows you to acquire some of that knowledge.”
The bilateral training also helps strengthen the relationship between the two countries, added Jubilan.
“We just finished training in Ojojihara with our Japanese counterparts and now we get the opportunity to work with our Philippine counterparts,” said U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Mohamed S. Salim, battery gunnery sergeant with Alpha Battery. “It is interesting to see how other militaries work.”
The artillery training is just one aspect of what the Marines are doing with their counterparts.
“We have done artillery shoots, convoy operations training, improvised explosive device training and jungle survival training,” said Salim. “We are learning just as much from the Philippine (military) as they are from us.”
The training also helps develop a brotherhood between the U.S. and Philippine Marines.
“We may be from different countries and speak different languages,” said Jubilan. “But we have been able to take away new knowledge and strengthen a friendship at the same time.”
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