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US, PH troops kick off joint military drills in Fort Magsaysay

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By Roy Mabasa

The United States Army Pacific and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have kicked off with the opening ceremony of the Exercise Salaknib 2019, an annual, bilateral exercise geared to enhance US and Philippine defense readiness and tactical interoperability while strengthening multinational relationships.

American and Filipino soldiers pose for a group picture in front of M113 Armored Personnel Carriers. (US Emabassy in the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

American and Filipino soldiers pose for a group picture in front of M113 Armored Personnel Carriers. (US Emabassy in the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

US Army 7th Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Willard Burleson III and Philippine Army 7th Infantry Division Acting Commander Brig. Gen. Lenard Agustin led the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

Exercise Salaknib will be officially conducted in and around the areas of Fort Magsaysay, Palayan, and Nueva Ecija from March 4 to 24, 2019.

The joint exercise provides a venue for the exchange of tactics, techniques, and procedures for Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, demonstrating US and Philippine resolve to support the security interests of allies and partners in the region

More than 1,600 soldiers from both sides will participate in this year’s exercise, consisting of a jungle field training exercise (FTX), a bilateral Command Post Exercise (CPX), various Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEEs), as well as Cooperative Health Engagements (CHE) and Humanitarian Civic Action (HCA) projects.

The holding of Salaknib is sponsored by the US Army Pacific and hosted by the Philippine Army.

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