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Armed Forces of the Philippines, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy service members come together for the Command Post Exercise opening ceremony, Oct. 1, at Naval Forces Northwest during Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015. PHIBLEX 15 is an annual, bilateral training exercise conducted by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines alongside U.S. Marine and Navy Forces. It focuses on strengthening the partnership and relationships between the two nations across a wide range of military operations, including disaster relief and complex expeditionary operations.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Robert D. Williams Jr.

PHIBLEX 15 Palawan opening ceremony kicks off CPX

6 Oct 2015 | Lance Cpl. Robert D. Williams Jr. III Marine Expeditionary Force

Armed Forces of the Philippines, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy servicemembers come together for the command post exercise opening ceremony Oct. 1, at Naval Forces Northwest as part of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015.

The ceremony opened one of several Palawan events for PHIBLEX 15, according to Philippine Marine Corps Col. Gomez, the deputy commander of 3rd Marine Brigade.

“One is the Humanitarian Civic Assistance project, which involves engineering projects that assist the schools of Concepcion and Barangay Binduyan," said Gomez. "Second is the Command Post Exercise, which we opened here at the naval station. The third exercise will be the Field Training Exercise, which elements of 12th Marine Battalion will board the USS Germantown and do amphibious landing training and exercises at the Naval Education Training Center in Zambales.”

The Command Post Exercise is designed to train the planners of the participating services and to improve upon military interoperability.

“The CPX at this time focuses on enhancing partner capacity and joint and combined interoperability in order to satisfy identified objectives for transition into territorial defense operations,” said Gomez.

PHIBLEX has had over 31 iterations, according to U.S. Marine Col. Charles Western, the chief of staff for 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

“You always fight harder for someone you know rather for someone you don’t know,” said Western. “So we’ve continued to work with many of the same units so we could build those ties and help both nations grow stronger.”

Gomez and Western have worked together in past exercises, said Gomez. Their bond is a representation of the relationship between the Philippine and U.S. Marine Corps.

“We have developed a close working relationship. But I think our working relationship goes beyond interoperability," said Gomez. "It includes an interpersonal relationship, which has developed a bonding, camaraderie and closer friendship between Marine brothers. We are looking forward to enhancing that brotherhood and friendship that would keep us much closer, not only in a training environment, but perhaps in the future in real humanitarian assistance disaster relief or combat operations. The U.S. Marines and the Philippine Marines would be working or fighting together towards a common objective for the interest of the people for both of our republics.”