• PH, Australia to hold joint military drills

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    THE Philippine and Australian armies are set to conduct two joint military exercises this year, an Army official said on Sunday.

    The joint exercises, according to Army spokesman Col. Benjamin Hao, aim to enhance the defense cooperation program of the two countries.

    The first training, dubbed “Dusk Caracha 2015,” will involve the Special Operations Commands (SOCOM) of the Philippine and Australian Army to be held in Perth, Western Australia from September 15 to 26.

    The Philippine Army will send 25 personnel from the Light Reaction Regiment (LRR) to participate in the exercise that seeks to enhance the counter-terrorist skills and capabilities of the Philippine Army’s LRR using the training facilities of the Special Air Service Regiment in Australia.

    “Dusk Caracha” will also include closed-quarter battle (CQB) training, sniper skills development training, and unit collective training.

    The second exercise, “Dawn Caracha,” will be held on October 19 to 30 in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. It will involve 102 participants from the Philippine Army and 15 soldiers from Australian Army.

    Hao said “Dawn Caracha” is an annual army-to-army exercise between the Special Air Service Regiment and the countries’ SOCOM. It is aimed at enhancing the interoperability of the Special Forces units of both countries.

    Col. Jose Faustino Jr., the Army’s Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Education, said that to enhance the existing defense relations between Australia and Philippines, both armies continue to engage in bilateral activities under the auspices of the Philippines-Australia Joint Defense Cooperation Program.

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