CROW VALLEY, Philippines -- The silence of the Philippine jungle is broken by staccato bursts of gun fire.
Camouflaged men rush out of the vegetation, moving quickly toward their targets.
Periodically, one will drop to the ground, sight in, and send rounds downrange.
Eventually, the men assault through the enemy position and consolidate, their
It was a scene repeated over and over again as
U.S. Marines with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th
Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted squad attack live-fire
training with Philippine Marines at Crow Valley, Philippines, Oct. 4, 2015.
think that it is important for us to get a chance to fight side-by-side with
foreign nations because, for one, no worse enemy no better friend,” said U.S.
Marine Staff Sgt. Alex Ramirez, a platoon sergeant with Echo Co., BLT 2/5, 31st
MEU. “Not only are we out here showing the Filipinos what we can do to
neutralize the enemy, but we are also out here to make friends, learn about
their culture as well as teach them ours, show them we are here to help and also
to show them we have the same mission.”
The bilateral training offered
more than just a chance to fire rounds downrange. It gave young Marines, both
Philippine and U.S., a valuable opportunity to build up their self-confidence.
“One of the benefits that my Marines get out of PHIBLEX is that they
build more confidence when they work together with the U.S. Marines,” said
Philippine Marine 1st Lt. Ronald Gonzales, the commanding officer of 31st Marine
Company, Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, Armed Forces of the Philippines. “Some
of my men don’t have as much experience and this will help them to employ their
men and use the knowledge to build up their confidence in their
Prior to starting the training, both units came together to
carefully rehearse the scheme of maneuver.
“I like to see my Marines
going over the basics with the Philippine Marines, making sure they know the
right way to hold weapons or to do buddy rushes,” said Ramirez, a native of
Edinburg, Texas. “It makes me happy to see my Marines that came in as privates first class or
lance corporals, and now some of them are corporals using what they learned
throughout the past and bestowing it upon the Philippine Marines
Throughout the entire training evolution, both sides were able to
learn from each other and gain valuable insight they could take away with them.
“We taught the Philippine Marines how to use machine guns and indirect
fire to get closer to the enemy, how to overwhelm the enemy with fire
superiority and how to maneuver toward the enemy in a safe manner,” said
Ramirez. “We were able to get some good things from their training as well, some
of which I am going to use to train my platoon to help them become a greater
combat force on the ground.”
At the end of the day, the Marines walked
away from the training having successfully met the intent behind PHIBLEX - to
build a stronger relationship between U.S. and Philippine forces.
think the most memorable part of all of the training so far was actually rushing
next to the Philippine Marines,” said Ramirez. “I know that there is a bit of a
language barrier, but at the end of the day we all have the same mission.”