US ship to arrive in Manila for ‘Balikatan’ exercises

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09:27 AM April 2nd, 2013

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April 2nd, 2013 09:27 AM

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MANILA, Philippines — An amphibious dock landing ship of the United States 7th Fleet will arrive in Manila on Tuesday to participate in the US-RP Balikatan exercises, the US Embassy said.

USS Tortuga’s first port call will be in Manila, followed by a brief stop in Subic in Zambales.

During the Balikatan, which takes place in Luzon from April 5 to 17, the Tortuga will support Philippine and US troops’ joint training for humanitarian assistance and disaster response scenarios.

Some 8,000 Philippine and US troops will participate in this year’s Balikatan.

Armed forces personnel from both countries will conduct combined staff exercises and field training at Camp O’Donnell, Crow Valley, Subic Bay and Fort Magsaysay “to improve interoperability and contingency planning,” as well as undertake joint humanitarian assistance projects.

The Tortuga is part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and is currently on deployment in the US 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

The Bonhomme Richard ARG reports to the commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley, which has its headquarters in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan. Frances Mangosing

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