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West Charlotte Sailor returns to Philippines

By 1st Lt. Ryan Lowcher | III Marine Expeditionary Force | May 17, 2018

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A West Charlotte High School graduate is participating in a large-scale multilateral exercise in the Republic of the Philippines.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Jason Reyes, originally born in Manila, is deployed to Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base in support of Exercise Balikatan 2018. He currently serves in Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa Japan.

For many service members participating, the Phillippines is an unfamiliar environment and culture- not to PO3 Reyes. He was born in the Republic of the Philippines and moved to North Carolina when he was 11-years-old. After graduating high school, he wanted to serve his country and give back to the community.

While at the U.S.-Philippine exercise, he took part in several community relations events and interacted with his fellow Filipinos.

"We are giving out school supplies, clothing, hygiene products, and also playing games with the kids."

Reyes, a Religious Program Specialist, assists the Chaplain in providing religious services for service members and locals while deployed.

Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine military training event focused on a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and other combined military operations. BK 34-2018 will take place in the Philippines May 7 to 18.


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