US Marines and Sailors with the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, together with their Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counterparts, successfully concluded the inaugural exercise Kamandag on October 11 during a closing ceremony at Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown, Taguig, Philippines.
Kamandag, which ran from October 2 to 11, is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat,” or “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea.” The name emphasizes the close partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries.
In preparation for Kamandag, the service members partnered to complete humanitarian and civic assistance projects. Members of the AFP, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, and US military renovated C.J. Torre Elementary School, Esperanza Elementary School, and Esperanza Daycare Center, in Casiguran. US military medical teams also taught basic lifesaving skills, first aid, disease prevention, and dental hygiene to children and teachers in Casiguran as part of a cooperative health engagement.
During Kamandag, US and Philippine service members practiced combat lifesaving techniques, live fire training, maritime search and seizure, urban terrain operations, and aviation support planning. US Marine amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) embarked and launched from a Philippine Navy sealift vessel, the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), for the first time ever. This success expands both militaries’ operational support capabilities to provide relief during humanitarian disasters, as well as move forces ashore during a terrorist crisis.
“This kind of integrated training prepares the Philippine vessel to carry Philippine Marine Corps AAVs in the future,” said Philippine Marine Corps Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Maria Dalmacio. She noted that the Philippine Marine Corps plans to acquire AAVs by 2019.
Kamandag increased overall US and Philippine military readiness, improved bilateral responsiveness, and strengthened the working relationships that embody our illustrious decades-long alliance.