For the first time, U.S. Marine amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) embarked and launched on a Philippine Navy sea lift vessel, the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), off the coast of Luzon, Oct. 2-9, in order to expand both militaries' operational support capabilities.
This kind of integrated training prepares the Philippine vessel to carry Philippine Marine Corps AAVs in the future, which are slated for service in 2019, said Philippine Marine Corps Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Maria R. Dalmacio.
"This operation is simply to prove that AAVs can work in conjunction with [the BRP Tarlac's] deck, and to work on standard operating procedures for the Philippine Navy, in conjunction with the Philippine Marine Corps," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Timothy Neder, commander of Assault Amphibious Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division.
Dalmacio said the BRP Tarlac supports various operations, including maritime security, counterpiracy, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and some law enforcement operations.
Bilateral integration of amphibious vehicles and naval vessels enhances the ability to provide relief to people in the region during humanitarian disasters, as well as move forces ashore during a violent terror crisis.
AAV-ship integration training took place as part of KAMANDAG, a U.S. and Philippine bilateral exercise which primarily focused on enhancing counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.
KAMANDAG is an acronym for the Filipino phrase "Kaagapay Ng Mandirigna Ng Dagat," which translates to "Cooperation of Warriors from the Sea."
"Cooperation of Warriors from the Sea, in its name alone, says how we can go ahead and better both our militaries for future operations together," said Neder.