Gazmin reminds troops Balikatan ‘near real life situations’
Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
TARLAC, Philippines – As the ongoing Balikatan exercises between Filipino and US troops entered their final phase Thursday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin thought it was time for a reality check.
“What we did right there, what we saw there are near real life situations,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said at the Crow Valley Range here where the soldiers engaged in Combined Arms Live Fire Exercises (Calfex).
“When the need is there for such actions, we should be able to react,” he said.
A 300-strong force from the Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force simulated an attack on an enemy force of two companies with ground troops receiving aerial support.
An airborne unit had 10 of its personnel perform a high altitude low opening drop for a simulated reconnaissance operation on the enemy camp as General Emmanuel Bautista, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff; Rear Admiral Jesus Millan, Philippine Navy Flag Officer; Major General Hernando Iriberri, Philippine Army Chief, looked on from atop a hill.
A couple of UH Helicopters provided air support for the troops on the ground as the 10 men used 105-millimeter Howitzer mortars, and smaller 85 mm mortars, on the targets.
As the mortar shells brought damage on the ground, an S211 jet from the Philippine Air Force first launched an attack with an A10 Thunderbolt 2 and an F18 Hornet from the US Air Force supporting the aerial barrage.
Once the air support was over, two ospreys carrying the main contingent arrived with one objective – to obliterate the target.
Vehicles from the 11th Marine Battalion team started to roll for the final assault, and give mechanized support to the foot soldiers.
A couple of light armored vehicles led the way for four M35 trucks for an “aggressive assault”.
Filipino troops also used three Simbas with one V150 as the lead for ground support.
“These should be applied and we should learn from the lessons to effectively accomplish the mission,” Gazmin said. “More of it was on synchronization as to remove any hindrances in operation.”
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