PHL-US land, air assets open fire culminating Balikatan 2015

Balikatan 2015 was culminated April 30 in Crow Valley, Capas, Tarlac with Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise. United States and Philippine Forces utilized assets from their respective Army, Marine Corp and Air Force.

“CALFEX is the culminating phase of the Balikatan Excercise itself, initially we started with Field Training Exercise (FTX), we trained together in Forth Magsaysay now we are here to apply what learned,” Task Force Kalayaan commander Colonel Lawrence Mina of Philippine Army said.

“When we say combined arms, its combining air assets, ground assets and all the different kinds of capabilities that they offer and synchronizing those assets at a given point in time and space,” says 2nd Strike Brigade commander Colonel Dave Womack of 25th Infantry Division of the US Army.

Balikatan Exercise has been conducted every year in 31 years now. US Exercise Director Lt. Gen. John Toolan said “each year we get a little bit better, each start we start working and integrating new equipment, new ideas, new concept and trying to enhance the command and control capability so that if a crisis should occur we can plug in right together and have no problem communicating between each other.”

“We have made new and better initiatives and this is, by far, the biggest Balikatan in terms of manpower and equipment,” Philippine Exercise Director Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez said.