TARLAC, Philippines – The Philippine Marine Corps and the US Marine Corps held live fire and low-altitude air defense exercises in the Crow Valley Gunnery Range inside Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base in Capas, Tarlac, on Thursday, October 17.
The simulated territorial defense mission was the final drill of the third Kaagapay ng Mandirigma ng Dagat (KAMANDAG 3) joint exercises between the Philippines and the US, with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force observing and participating in some activities.
Thursday's exercise featured American amphibious assault vehicles (AAV), Osprey aircraft, Huey and Cobra helicopters, and Howitzer artillery guns firing 155mm rounds.
Filipino troops brought firepower aboard armored personnel carriers (APC) shooting 81mm rounds, joining their US counterparts in launching a ground assault on a besieged target, with close air support from Ospreys bringing in reinforcements and helicopters firing overhead.
An earlier exercise in Ternate, Cavite, on October 12 featured the Philippine Marines' own brand new AAVs working alongside similar assets from the US and Japan.
KAMANDAG 3 will officially close on Friday, October 18, as another series of exercises by the Philippines, US, and Japan navies, the MTA Sama-Sama, continues in Palawan. – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.