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Arrowhead Soldiers to team up with Filipino counterparts as part of Balikatan '14
According to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Balikatan is "an annual Republic of the Philippines-U.S. military bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement."
This year's event, which takes place from May 5 to 16, is not the first time the "Arrowhead" Brigade has teamed up with the AFP.
"We're excited to be here to build on the training and rapport built by the Arrowhead Team in Balikatan 2013," said Maj. John Hawbaker, the executive officer for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, who are in the Philippines at the behest of the brigade's commanding officer, Col. Hugh D. Bair. "The Filipino[Joint Task Force] staff, U.S. Marines, and the Arrowhead Team are already working together to set the conditions for continued success throughout the exercise."
This year's Balikatan exercise comes in the wake of President Obama's visit to the Philippines earlier this week where he affirmed that "at the invitation of the Philippines, American service members will rotate through Filipino facilities."
"Our training partnership will further develop the capabilities of the Philippine armed forces to respond to contingencies involving territorial defense," said Lt. Col. Jarett Broemmel, 2-3 Infantry Battalion commander and officer in vharge of the Arrowhead brigade's Task Force Balikatan. "In addition, our work with crisis action planning will benefit our partners with future operations requiring disaster response, humanitarian aid and the like."
"Patriot" Soldiers from 2-3 Infantry Battalion will conduct a combined staff exercise at Camp Aguinaldo, in Manila, and observe field training at Fort Magsaysay, to improve their interoperability and contingency planning with AFP troops.
"As a member of the Arrowhead brigade, the Patriot Battalion team that is partnered with the AFP will also provide subject matter expertise to the [Joint Task Force headquarters] executing the upcoming joint, combined arms, live-fire training event," Broemmel said.
Exercise Balikatan 2014 is the 30th iteration of the exercise and is intended to promote regional peace and security by ensuring the interoperability and readiness of Philippine and U.S. forces. The word Balikatan means "shoulder-to-shoulder" in tagalog, one of several native Filipino languages, and characterizes the spirit of the bilateral Philippines-U.S. exercise.
Further updates and additional information about Balikatan can be found on their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/exercisebalikatan.