DVIDS – News – USA and Philippines successfully complete 37th Balikatan

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the U.S. military gathered here today to celebrate the successful conclusion of Balikatan 2022, the 37th iteration of the annual bilateral exercise.

Over the past two weeks, nearly 9,000 AFP and U.S. military cadets trained shoulder-to-shoulder from the north coast of Luzon to Palawan, focusing on maritime security, amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban operations, air operations, counter-terrorism and humanitarian operations aid and disaster relief.

“After two years of a global pandemic, U.S. and Philippine forces have joined forces to conduct one of the largest Balikatan exercises ever held,” said interim charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, Heather Variava. “This is a testament to the strength of the US-Philippine alliance and the shared priorities of our countries.”

U.S. and Philippine exercise forces deployed more than 50 aircraft, four ships, 10 amphibious vehicles, four High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers, and four Patriot missile systems during Balikatan 22. Around 40 Australian Defense Force personnel also took part in this year’s exercise.

“The experience gained from Exercise Balikatan complemented our security cooperation efforts and helped enhance existing mutual security efforts,” said Maj. Gen. Charlton Sean Gaerlan, AFP exercise manager for Balikatan 22. “Though there have been restrictions from the pandemic, is If so, it is very commendable that the exercise caught on and had a positive result.”

During Balikatan 22, US Army Patriot missile systems were used for the first time in amphibious operations in the Philippines. The exercise also saw the first deployment of the US Marine Corps’ 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment (3d MLR), deployed March 3 in Hawaii.

AFP and US forces experimented with sensors and fire support, using Expeditionary Advanced Bases (EABs) as a framework for integrated coastal defenses. Over the course of eight days, the 3d MLR worked alongside the Philippine Marine Corps Coast Defense Regiment and assumed command and control of several EABs in northern Luzon. This coastal defense was further enhanced by two Patriot missile batteries from the US Army’s 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment and HIMARS from the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines.

The US Navy and Philippine Navy played key roles in providing maritime transport and offshore support.

“The completion of another successful Balikatan is a clear example of our shared commitment to promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Brig. Gen. Gen. Joseph Clearfield, deputy commander, US Marine Corps Forces Pacific. “As a result of our combined efforts, our armed forces have grown together in friendship, and we are better prepared to respond as a cohesive team to any crisis or challenge.”

The AFP and the US military also conducted several humanitarian and civic relief projects, including renovations of four elementary schools, several community health engagements, and sharing advanced emergency rescue and lifesaving techniques. These construction projects, health engagements, and community collaboration events improved local infrastructure, facilitated the exchange of life-saving medical skills, and strengthened ties between local communities and the Philippine and American armed forces.

As Balikatan 22 draws to a close, AFP and US forces will routinely train and stand together at other exercises and initiatives throughout the year to promote readiness, interoperability, friendship and security.

Date of recording: 04.08.2022
Release Date: 08/04/2022 02:52
Story ID: 418101

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