RP-US naval exercises kick off today

The combined Philippines-United States naval exercises will kickoff today on board the USS Frederick anchored off Ternate, Cavite.

Lectures, shipboard training, cross-training exercises and sea exercises, as well as rehearsals will be conducted by the joint naval forces culminating in an amphibious landing exercise scheduled on May 7 in Ternate.

Participating vessels include the USS Frederick, one Philippine Navy Landing Ship Vessel (LSV), two PN Patrol Gunboats (PG), one PN Landing Craft Utility (LCU), and two PN BO105 helicopters.

Forces participating in the exercise include the Philippine Fleet, Naval Logistics Center, Naval Reserve Command Personnel, Philippine Marines, and US Marines.

The RP and US Combined Marine Forces (CMARFOR) with a Battalion Landing Team and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF), respectively, will cross-train on the techniques and procedures of joint-combined amphibious and heliborne operation planning and execution, Marine-infantry weapons familiarization and tactics, and other related activities at Marine base in Ternate.

The amphibious exercise is part of the combined-joint RP-US military exercises held annually under the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States.

BALIKATAN 2001 is made more significant as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Ship tank

The USS Frederick, a landing ship tank (LST) of the United States, arrived yesterday at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila to participate in amphibious exercises in Ternate, Cavite as part of the RP-US military exercises dubbed "Balikatan 2001."

The USS Frederick carrying members of the US Marine Corps, participants of the Balikatan 2001, will anchor at Ternate, Cavite.

Philippine Navy cross-training exercise participants and observers will be ferried to and from the USS Frederick while anchored at Ternate for daily lectures, trainings, demonstrations, and hands-on operation of the systems aboard the ship that will be conducted by their US counterparts.

The knowledge gained by PN personnel will be applied during the exercises at sea.

The combined joint RP-US naval forces opening will be held on board today in Ternate with participating ships from the PN.

USS Frederick's mission is to load and transport cargo, vehicles of all types, and troops to a combat area.

A landing ship tank (LST 1184), the USS Frederick is a major player in amphibious exercises because of its characteristics. It can launch amphibious vehicles via a stern gate as well as land vehicles to a beach or causeway over a bow ramp. The USS Frederick's lift capacity includes 29 tanks and over 350 troops and their equipment. The USS Frederick also acts as the primary assault-training platform for the United States Marine Corps in the South Pacific and rapidly deploys humanitarian aid and disaster relief to Pacific islands.

Commander Roger Perkin is the commanding officer of the USS Frederick. The ship's crew is composed of approximately 250 personnel.

The joint combined RP-US amphibious exercises will be conducted starting today in Ternate.


The Philippines and Canada through their respective navies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance future "joint naval exercises and military training" among their navy officers and men.

Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Victorino S. Hingco and Canadian Maritime orces for the Pacific commnder Vice Admiral Ronald Buck signed the accord shortly after the arrival of visiting Her Majesty Canadian Ship (HMCS) Algonquin at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila Friday.

Witnessing the accord signing were Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Canadian Fleet for the Pacific Commodore Eric Lerche, a representative of Defense Secretary Angelo T. Reyes and officials of the Canadian Embassy in Manila.

The Philippine and Canadian navies have been haivng closer ties over the years. Diplomatic relations of the two countries have been quite mutual and quite productive.

Filipinos in Canada have been receiving wholesome and "fairest" treatment from Canadians and their government.

"With the newly signed accord, the relation between the PN and Canadian Navy has been more strengthened, and we work symbiotically", said Hingco.

The visiting Canadian naval officers and men were given a warm welcome and party by PN men officers and men led by Hingco, his deptuy Commodore Ariston de los Reyes and Commodore Mariano Santillanosa at the PN headquarters, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

(Yul Malicse)