On Saturday, July 15, members of the 3rd Marine Brigade of the Philippine Marine Corps and the 5th Marine Regiment of the United States Marine Corps gathered for a group photo to commemorate their participation in the Coastal Defense Live Fire Exercise. This exercise was conducted as part of the Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA) 2023, held in Sitio Tarumpitao, Barangay Punta Baja, Rizal town.

Philippine Marine Corps troops joined forces with their United States counterparts on Saturday, July 15, for an interoperability exercise in Sitio Tarumpitao, Barangay Punta Baja, located in the town of Rizal.

The joint exercise was carried out as part of the Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA) taking place across various regions in the Philippines.

The Coastal Defense Live Fire Exercise, a crucial component of MASA 2023, featured a simulated beach assault scenario where marines from both forces were deployed to safeguard the territory against potential enemies.

The exercise aimed to improve coordination, enhance interoperability, professionalism, and combat effectiveness between the Philippine Marine Corps’ 3rd Marine Brigade and the United States Marine Corps’ 5th Marine Regiment. Its objectives included showcasing their capabilities and readiness while fostering a collaborative approach to coastal defense operations.

The activity showcased a sequence of the occupation and de-occupation of coastal fighting positions, executing maritime strike mission kill chain, coordinating security force retrograde, and establishing command and control authorities and procedures for maritime strike capabilities employed by the participating forces.

3MBde commander, Brig. Gen. Antonio Mangoroban Jr., said the training features aviation support activities that surrounds facilities like seizing key terrains and defending them from enemies to prevent them from advancing.

“The scenario is a joint exercise between two countries not necessarily very near, but I think the right term is very accessible. So the US can be, at a moment’s notice, be here and we can quickly integrate our capabilities,” Mangoroban said.

“We have tested our weapons, they also tested their own weapons and we have shown [that] our combined firepower is formidable enough,” he added.

Mangoroban emphasized that the exercise was unrelated to the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement or the West Philippine Sea issues.

He clarified that the training had been a longstanding component of the cooperative relationship between the Philippines and the United States.

“EDCA is totally a different issue, it is a joint facility for our long standing alliance with the US. it’s an investment in the alliance and in the long standing relationship that the US Marine Corps has shared with Philippine Marine Corps, the strong kinship that we take a lot of pride in and we can do it for many years,” he explained.

“It just so happened that we are here, we cannot do it in Central Mindanao because there is no water in the AOR (area of responsibility) of 1st Marine Brigade, we are doing this also in Ilocos Region. It so happened that we are here, actually we have also done this, the first iteration in Tawi-tawi,” he stated.

Furthermore, he said that while such trainings are vital for the improvement of defense capabilities, the Armed Forces of the Philippines need to acquire more equipments.

“Just like any other armed forces, even the US, I think they need more equipment, so much more with the AFP, I think there is always a need for more equipment,” he said.

Held biannually, MASA is in line with the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement that features a wide array of training exercises that include live fire drills, air assaults and airfield seizures, joint forward arming and refueling operations, as well as other aviation support activities. Marine Aviation Support Activity.

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