26 September 2016

More US ships dock in Subic Bay as Phl, US troops prepare for PHIBLEX 33

Three more US Navy ships are now docked in Subic Bay Freeport for a routine port call.

Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3) and two other US support ships, the USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) and USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) arrived at the port of Subic Monday morning (Sept. 26) for supply replenishment.

USNS Bowditch is an oceanographic survey vessel which is part of the Special Mission Ship program operating in South China Sea, while the USNS Washington Chambers is a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship. The three ships joined another US vessel, USS Frank Cable (AS-40), which arrived in this free port on Sept. 10.

These US ships are now in Subic Bay as Philippine and American troops prepare for the upcoming PHIBLEX exercises set on October 4 to 12 in multiple locations in Luzon and Palawan.

In a statement release by the US Embassy in Manila, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine Marine Corps have invited U.S. Marines and Sailors from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group to participate in PHIBLEX 2016 which is the 33rd iteration of the Philippines Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX 33).

Humanitarian civic assistance efforts, an amphibious landing exercise and live- fire training featuring artillery are just a few of the many team building opportunities during PHIBLEX 33, all designed to advance cooperation, improve interoperability and assist in strengthening bilateral amphibious capabilities.

PHIBLEX 33 will include approximately 1,400 U.S. service members based in Okinawa, Japan and 500 Philippine Armed Forces personnel working side-by- side to grow capabilities and better prepare to operate together during a natural disaster or armed conflict.

The humanitarian and civic assistance portion of the exercise, beginning in September and concluding 12 October, includes engineering projects to improve local infrastructure and health engagements to exchange medical best practices and supplement the medical needs of Philippine citizens. Field training during the exercise includes small arms and artillery live-fire which will provide the and U.S. Marine units multiple opportunities to maintain and sharpen their skills while enhancing an already high level of interoperability.

Additional U.S. units participating include Amphibious Squadron 11, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the three ships of Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (BHR ARG). The ARG consists of the USS BHR (LHD-6), the USS Green Bay (LPD-20), and the USS Germantown (LSD-48). Philippine units include the 3d Marine Brigade and the Philippine Navy’s new Strategic Sealift Vessel, the BRP Tarlac. (MPD-SBMA)

The USS Frank Cable (AS-40), a submarine tender ship, gives a water salute to the passing USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3), a Spearhead class expeditionary fast transport ship as the latter prepare to dock for a routine port stop at the Alava Pier in Subic Bay Freeport zone in Zambales Monday (Sept. 26). Two other US support ships, the USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62), an oceanographic survey vessel which is part of the Special Mission Ship program operating in South China Sea, and the dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) also docked in Subic Bay port for supply replenishment. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)