US, PH forces conduct live-fire exercises in Tarlac

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 11, 2019, 12:12 pm

<p><em>Photo courtesy: AFP Public Affairs Office</em></p>

Photo courtesy: AFP Public Affairs Office

MANILA -- Personnel from the Philippine and US Army, Marine Corps and Air Force on Wednesday participated in so-called "Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise" (CALFEX) at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Crow Valley, Camp O'Donnell, Tarlac.

CALFEX is part of this year's "Balikatan" exercises, which started April 1 and will conclude on Friday.

“Service members from across the Philippine and US militaries came together using their ground maneuver, artillery, mortars and air elements to successfully execute this complex live fire event,” 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team commander, US Army Col. Leo Wyszynski, said in a message to reporters.

“Throughout the exercise, from planning to execution, we've shared tactics and techniques that will allow us better operate together to ensure regional stability,” he added.

During the exercise, supporting air and ground combat elements worked together to provide indirect and suppressing fire, in order to allow the main ground combat element to advance and destroy the notional enemy.

Once the combined team neutralized the hypothetical threat, they consolidated in preparation for potential follow-on orders.

“The CALFEX does not only showcase the Philippine and US militaries’ capabilities in combined arms, it also highlights how both militaries work together in joint operations," 1st Brigade Combat Team commander, Philippine Army Brig. Gen. Leopoldo A. Imbang Jr. said.

The exercise tested the service members’ maneuver warfare skills and strengthened their ability to fight together. Training events such as CALFEX help participating forces maintain a high level of responsiveness and enhance combined military-to-military relations by enabling a multinational, multi-service cadre of troops to work together towards accomplishing a common goal.

“Without a doubt, training over the last week has increased the readiness of our forces,” Wyszynski said.

“It was an honor to work with the Philippine Army's first ever Brigade Combat Team, the Aegis Brigade, throughout Balikatan and during this exercise. We have learned a great deal about operating in this tropical environment from their leaders and soldiers,” he added.

The CALFEX was part of a broader series of joint Philippine-US interoperability events during "Balikatan", which also includes an amphibious exercise, military operations in urban terrain, and aviation operations. Exercises like "Balikatan" strengthen the longstanding alliance between the Philippines and United States.

The United States remains committed to promoting military-to-military relations and interoperability with the Philippines and other regional allies and partners to promote regional security. (PNA)