Philippine Armed Forces members, Marines train for emergencies
By Lance Cpl. Anne K. Henry
| Marine Corps Installations Pacific | October 03, 2013
PAMPANGA, Republic of the Philippines --
Armed Forces of the Philippines members and U.S. Marines conducted bilateral aircraft rescue and firefighting training during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014 Sept. 26 at Clark Air Field, Pampanga, Republic of the Philippines.
III Marine Expeditionary Force
Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler
Marine Corps Installations Pacific
PHIBLEX 14 is an annual, bilateral training exercise focused on enhancing security and stability within the region.
The day of training involved U.S. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The training was designed to increase the already high level of interoperability between Philippine and U.S. forces.
“We are going to be conducting some bilateral training with our Filipino counterparts involving the F/A-18 Hornet,” said Sgt. Devon McIntyre, the aircraft rescue and firefighting training noncommissioned officer in charge with MWSS-172. “We will be covering all the major areas of emergencies, so (we all) understand the complexity of this should it really happen.”
The training started out with a familiarization class consisting of emergency procedures on how to extract a pilot and shut a plane down, according to McIntyre.
“The whole point of today is to ensure that our Filipino counterparts fully understand the rescue procedures that we have,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Heriberto Alonso, an aircraft rescue firefighter with the unit. “Therefore, if there is an emergency situation, we can effectively help each other to overcome the problem in order for no miscommunication to take place along the way.”
Upon completion of the instruction, the participants conducted a pilot extraction drill, consisting of a pilot’s mock evacuation from an F/A-18. The members of both forces evacuated the pilot and conducted a mental evaluation, creating a realistic training experience.
“Upon extraction, we want to test the pilot’s mental psyche in order to ensure he has no serious head trauma caused by the mishap,” said McIntyre. “The entire assessment process could take up to 30 minutes.”
The evolution left the participants of both nations confident in the training they received, according to Philippine Air Force Airman 2nd Class Kennard I. Gomez, an air rescue firefighter with the 600th Air Base Wing.
“This training is highly beneficial for the Philippine forces and gives us a huge advantage should a mishap take place,” said Gomez. “I feel that both of our countries can benefit from what we are doing here.”
Working cooperatively and ensuring interoperability with the Armed Forces of the Philippines is highly important, according to McIntyre.
“I feel that because of this training, the Philippine forces will be fully confident and capable of carrying out the extraction of a pilot who is in an emergency situation,” said McIntyre. “It is important for us to spread the knowledge we have, as well as to pick up new things from them. We are always very happy to train with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”