SUBIC BAY – Sailors and Marines from the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group (PEL ESG) completed the 31st iteration of Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) Friday, Oct. 10.
PHIBLEX 15 is an annual, bilateral training exercise conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, U.S. Navy and Marines to strengthen cooperation across a range of capabilities to include disaster relief and maritime security operations.
“This was another great opportunity for our amphibious forces in 7th Fleet to train side-by-side with the AFP to better understand our capability to rapidly respond to any potential crisis in the region”, said Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Seven. “Exceptional men and women doing extraordinary things everyday; I couldn’t be more proud of our Sailors and Marines and what we accomplished during this exercise.”
This year’s PHIBLEX included four major components: the 31st MEU Certification Exercise, command post exercise, a field training exercise, and humanitarian assistance operations.
“The exercise was an overwhelming success because we were able to train and integrate with our Philippine partners,” said Col. Romin Dasmalchi, commanding officer of the 31st MEU. “All elements of the (Marine Air Ground Task Force) were able to train bilaterally with our partners in several complex amphibious operations and live-fire events that contributed to our overall success and demonstrated the unique capabilities of a MEU/ARG. I have no doubt that as this exercise concludes, we are more prepared to work together with our partners in any future military requirement."
PEL ESG ships, USS Peleliu (LHA 5) and USS Germantown (LSD 42), also hosted AFP counterparts to train and plan various amphibious operations, maritime security operations, ship-to-shore movements and disaster relief drills.
“The 7th Fleet area of responsibility is prone to natural disasters yet hosts a large portion of the world’s sea commerce,” said Capt. Heidi Agle, commodore of Amphibious Squadron Eleven. “Training scenarios like PHIBLEX including maritime security and disaster relief components allow us to work side by side with our Philippine partners and enhance our mutual capabilities to respond to any situation.”
Closing ceremonies took place at Fort Bonifacio in Manila, officially concluding two weeks of PHIBLEX bilateral training events.
The Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, is conducting joint forces exercises in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.