Troops from the 3rd Marine Brigade of the Philippine Marine Corps prepare the Super Swiper 2 unmanned aerial system drone for training as part of joint KAMANDAG 06-22 exercise with US Marine Corps in Barangay Inagawan-sub on Monday.

The Palawan leg of the “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat” (KAMANDAG 06-22) or “Cooperation of the Warriors of the Sea” exercise is more focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), as joint forces of the Philippine and United States Marine Corps conducted the Maritime Awareness and Coastal Defense (MACD) exercise in Barangay Kamuning here on Monday.

As part of the skills training under MACD, the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) and US Marine Corps (USMC) deployed several Aerial Unmanned Services (AUS) or drones and conducted an amphibious reconnaissance in Barangays Inagawan-sub and Kamuning.

Captain Miguel Bayudan of the 3rd Marine Brigade said the exercise will enhance the skills of Philippine Marines personnel not only in military operations but humanitarian missions as well.

He said the Super Swiper 2 drones of the PMC have been deployed on humanitarian missions before.

“Mayroon tayo ditong amphibious reconnaissance at kasama itong ginaganap nating UAS na tulong natin para ma-capacitate yung knowledge and skills natin hindi lang sa tactical operations, special operations, pati na rin sa HADR operations. Aside sa subject matter experts natin, nag-exchange kami ng knowledge. Lahat ng capabilities na pwede nilang ituro sa atin ay binibigay rin natin sa kanila,” Bayudan said.

“Nagamit natin siya sa HADR operations lalong lalo na kasi, UAS sya, ma-advance natin at malalaman natin kung saan yung may mga landslide area, saan yung sirang bridges o kalsada na hindi passable. So at least mayroon tayong advance knowledge, magagawan natin ng paraan,” he added.

On the other hand, 1st Lieutenant Sam Pahl of the USMC said the exchange of knowledge and skills between the two marine forces aims to strengthen the partnership and enforce integration and interoperability.

He added that aside from interoperability, the activity also aims to forge stronger relationship and renew the commitment between the two countries.

“These activities include subject matter expertise exchanges in UAS, in public affairs, and leadership. The goal is to reinforce the partnership between the two marine corps, so that we can learn from each other because you, guys, have a wealth of knowledge in a lot of things that the PMC are very good at and we’d like to bring some of our stuff too so that we can share our practices as well and learn from each other and become better. That’s what we do as well as make friendships along the way,” Pahl said.

Captain Luke Jackson said the training brings new knowledge to both forces as they share information about how they operate separately which he said will be more effective when they operate together.

“So, the US Marine Reconnaissance Platoon, we’re here to train with our Filipino force marine brothers. We operate much the same way. So, everything we’ve been doing here is to increase interoperability, to learn more about how they work, they learn about how we work. And the more we train together, the more effective we will be whenever we have to operate together, should we ever have to support each other in humanitarian assistance and disaster response scenarios or just an exercise just like we do regularly to increase our interoperability and maintain our friendship,” Jackson said.

The bilateral training exercise between the two marine forces started on October 3, at the Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig, and will last until October 13.

Other trainings of the exercise include the MACD in Palawan.

Amphibious Operations, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Training in San Antonio, Zambales; Amphibious Raid and Land Search and Rescue (SAR) in Claveria, Aparri, and Palaui Island, Cagayan; Humanitarian Assistance in Mavulis Island and Basco, Batanes; Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) in Capaz, Tarlac; Reconnaissance Training in Ternate, Cavite; and Information Operation and STRATCOM training in Fort Bonifacio.

The training is expected to build effective and ready forces capable of responding to security challenges. It allows the participating forces to plan, coordinate, and conduct combined military operations that can be applied across all ranges of military operations, including amphibious operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the Republic of Korea Marine Corps also joined the exercise in some locations as observers.

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