US sends air contingent to PH for bilateral training missions
The US military deployed an air contingent on Sunday to conduct bilateral training missions and integrate with units of their counterparts in the Philippine military.
The US Air Force has deployed two C-130 Hercules aircraft and approximately 100 airmen from the 347th Air Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan; and the 36th Contingency Response Group from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam to Mactan Ebuenito Air Base in Cebu for the third iteration of the Air Contingent in the Philippines, the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement on Monday.
“The purpose of the Air Contingent is to promote increased inter-operability between US and Filipino forces, and to further enhance security cooperation between the allies,” the statement read.
The first rotation of an air contingent at Clark Air Base was held last April 2016 after then Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Defense Secretary Ash Carter emphasized initiatives to reinforce the partnership of the two countries. It consisted of A-10C Thunderbolt IIs, HH-60G Pave Hawks and approximately 200 personnel from multiple Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) units.
The second two-week iteration, meanwhile, was last June 15, with the deployment of EA-18G Growlers and Navy personnel.
About 1,400 troops are also set to arrive next month to join their Filipino counterparts for bilateral military exercises in different areas in Luzon, the first large-scale joint military exercise since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. The Philippines Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex) is scheduled on October 4 to 12. JE/rga
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