Guam -Close to 120 Guam Army National Guard (GUARNG) Soldiers will be joining other U.S forces and units from the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the annual exercise called Balikatan early this month.
The GUARNG units are slated to depart Guam for the Philippines this early week.
Balikatan (meaning shoulder to shoulder) is an annual bilateral U.S. and Republic of the Philippines exercise consisting of a Staff/Command Post exercise (CPX), a Field Training Exercise (FTX), and a Humanitarian and Civic Assistance/Civil Military Operations (HCA/CMO).
Soldiers from the Guam Guard’s 105th Troop Command Headquarters, 1671st Signal Detachment, GUARNG Element and Medical Detachment will be participating in the exercise for approximately two-weeks as part of their annual training requirements.
Balikatan 2011 will be the twenty-seventh exercise between the two countries’ military forces. The annual exercise helps improve bilateral joint operational capabilities between the two countries and is vital to maintaining the readiness and interoperability of the U.S. and Philippine military forces.
Bilateral training is part of the long-term security assistance program between the Republic of the Philippines and the U.S.
U.S. forces deployed for Balikatan are in the Philippines temporarily and there are no U.S. Forces permanently based in the Philippines. Part of their mission is to conduct bi-lateral training with Armed Forces of the Philippines, to include brigade and battalion level staff functions.
“We learn from each other during these exercises,” said GUARNG Element Commander Army Major Franklin Babauta.
GUARNG units will be involved in supporting U.S. Forces from the Marine Corps and other Army units within the Pacific Region for both offensive and defensive battalion field training exercises, civil military operations and community relations. The 105th Troop Command will operate as the forward command and control element for operations of U.S. Forces on Fort Magsaysay during the entire exercise. Members of the Medical Detachment are slated to conduct more specific training such as the Combat Lifesaver course, Tactical Combat Medical Care, and Casualty Evacuation Procedures with the AFP units.
The GUARNG Element will provide command and control of the Logistics Support Area for Fort Magsaysay, as well as coordinating for internal and local support for all Armed Forces and civilians. The 1671st Signal Detachment will be providing short range communications support to units at Fort Magsaysay, as well as communications support plans and assets to support data, voice, video and collaboration services required by the units in their area of operations.