FORT MAGSAYSAY, Philippines -- He squeezed and nothing happened. He looked to the instructor.

"Open it," was said with a sense of urgency.

The weapon had jammed. Immediately he went through the process of clearing it and reloading. He was nearly complete when he hears his instructor again,. "Keep the enemy down. Get back into the fight!"

Two seconds later, he squeezes the trigger and round after round make their way down the barrel towards the targets downrange.

The exhilarating live-fire training between U.S. Marines from Combat Logistic Battalion 4 and Armed Forces Philippine Forces was conducted April 8 as part of Balikatan 2011, an annual joint military exercise between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.

This is the 27th exercise in the Balikatan series and serves as an opportunity for bilateral training that is vital to maintaining readiness capabilities for both the United States and the Philippine armed forces, said Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, the United States Balikatan 2011 director.

"Today we're doing some bilateral training with the Philippine Marine and Army," said U.S. Marine Sgt. Angelo D. Castilleja with CLB4 from Okinawa, Japan. "The objective is to learn each other's crew-serve weapons.

"We have Marines on the M240G and the M60 on their end," said Castilleja, a Kansas City, Mo., native.

Both weapons are known as general-purpose machine guns and fire 7.62mm rounds. The training incorporated suppressive fire techniques, proper weapon handling and familiarization with both nations' weapon systems. The opportunity to train with U.S. Marines for the AFP was very beneficial, according to Filipino Marine Master Sgt. Carlito F. Him.

"We want to train with the U.S. Forces," said Him. "We can learn from their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq." Learning between the two armed forces was not limited by the language barrier, said Castilleja.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16