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SOUTH CHINA SEA - Sailors and Marines from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) participated in bilateral training with U.S. Sailors and Marines from the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group during Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 15.
PHIBLEX15 is the 31st annual bilateral training exercise conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to enhance cooperation between the two nations on a wide range of capabilities, from disaster relief readiness to maritime security operations.
"This has been a great opportunity to experience advanced tactics," said AFP Staff Sgt. William F. Dizon. "Our countries have a good relationship and it's beneficial when we conduct operations together."
The Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, consisting of USS Peleliu (LHA 5), USS Germantown (LSD 42) and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted various sea and shore based training exercises with the AFP including field training, amphibious operations, ship-to-shore movements and civil-military operations.
"While on board, they observed boat raids, flight operations and were given tours of both the bridge and engineering spaces," said Lt. Jason Nowell, operations officer aboard Germantown. "They also observed the launch and recovery of Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC), Combat Rubber Raiding Crafts (CRRC) and conducted live fire training while ashore with the 31st MEU during a mechanized raid."
One of the most beneficial training experiences the AFP received was on the launch and recovery of Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV).
"Our unit will be acquiring AAVs in the near future and the U.S. Marines have given us a lot of the knowledge and skills that we need to familiarize ourselves with AAVs," said AFP 1st Lt. Ryan Frivaldo. "We can use what we learn here as soon as we return to our unit and this is beneficial to us."
Many of the Marines assigned to the 31st MEU felt that working with the AFP was a rewarding experience.
"This has been the experience of a lifetime," said Marine Lance Cpl. Dillan McGowan. "Working with the AFP Marines is what made this whole deployment worthwhile, and it's going to be sad when they leave."
PHIBLEX15 concludes Oct. 10, with closing ceremonies at Fort Bonifacio in Manila.
The Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group is commanded by Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald.