Photo Information

Philippine Marines and U.S. Marines execute squad attacks at Crow Valley, Philippines, Oct. 4, 2015. Philippine Marines and U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, are training side by side for Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015, an annual bilateral training exercise conducted by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines alongside U.S. Marine and Navy Forces.

Photo by Cpl. Ryan Mains

Philippine, US Marines conduct squad attack training for PHIBLEX 2015

10 Oct 2015 | Cpl. Ryan Mains The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

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 mission accomplished.

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.

“I 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 jobs.”

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 today.”

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.

“I 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.”