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08 October 2010

3,000 US servicemen in joint exercises

AT least 3,000 United States servicemen and their assets are in the country for two military exercises with their counterparts in the Armed Forces in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog, a military spokesman said (yesterday).

The Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise will be held October 13 to 22 at the former US Navy base at the Subic Bay in Zambales, and the Amphibious Landing Exercises (Phiblex) on October 14 to 22 at the former US Air Force base in Clark, Pampanga.

"Around six US Navy vessels and three aircraft (will) participate in these annual events that involve five Philippine Navy ships and around 1,000-strong PN (Philippine Navy) contingent of sailors and marines," said Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo.

Under CARAT are "in port" trainings, including subject matter expert exchanges and community service activities like medical, dental and engineering civic actions and other humanitarian activities, and "at sea" trainings which involve visit, board, search and seizure procedure; maritime interdiction operations and surveillance; and naval gunfire support, among others.

For the Phiblex, Arevalo said a boat ride exercise will be held at the Marine Base in Ternate, Cavite and a mechanized raid at the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales.

"The exercises hope to attain inter-operability between the two armed services of both countries," said Arevalo.

"Particularly, it seeks to bolster the inter-operability of the participating country’s armed services in territorial defense in pursuit of our national defense strategy," he added. (Victor Reyes, Malaya)

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