(Photo courtesy of Philippine Marine Corps)

MANILA – The aviation capabilities of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) and the US Marine Corps (USMC) have been greatly enhanced following the conclusion of the five-day specialized helicopter drills between the two services last July 18 to 22.

In a statement over the weekend, PMC acting commandant Brig. Gen. Raul Jesus Caldez thanked his American counterparts for the successful exercise between Filipino and American Marine air units.

He added that this has “increased the interoperability in aviation-related capabilities of both forces.”

The exercises covered training on helicopter rope suspension and aeromedical evacuation at the Naval Base in Zambales, Subic Bay International Airport, and PMC headquarters in Taguig City.

The Special Forces Operation Wing of the Philippine Air Force also took part in the activities. These exercises are the second part of the Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA) 2022.

The first phase of the exercises from June 6 to 17 was held in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, and Puerto Princesa City, Palawan where Philippine and US Armed Forces conducted joint interoperability activities including coastal defense, forward aiming, and refueling, engineering, unmanned aviation system training, and high mobility artillery rocket system training and demonstration.

Meanwhile, US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific deputy commander Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield said they are now looking forward to MASA 2023 to build on their cooperation with PMC units.

“We look forward to MASA 2023 where we will continue to build on decades of cooperation, camaraderie, and shared experience to preserve freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea and maintain the free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.

During the closing ceremonies on July 22, Philippine Navy acting flag-officer-in-command Rear Adm. Caesar Bernard Valencia thanked the US military for their assistance in the exercises.

“To the US Armed Forces, our ally, who are equally responsible (for) the success of this event. Thank you for your commitment and contribution in the defense of our maritime nation and for ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” he added. (PNA)


SOURCE: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1179655