CAMP AQUINO, Philippines -- The U.S Army and Soldiers from the Philippine Army's K9 Battalion trained together on March 6, 2019 during exercise Salaknib to learn each other's military working dog training techniques. Training together like this allows U.S. forces and host countries to build lasting partnerships and prepare to work together on real missions.

"The Subject Matter Experts allow us to exchange ideas and some best practices as to how the programs are managed," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Alvira, the plans section Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge with the 8th Military Police Brigade. "We can compare notes on how they manage their programs and how we manage ours and then take back those suggestions and maybe make adjustments in the way that we do things."

Each team has been open to new ideas and training tools in learning ways to make their programs better. Even with language barriers and time constraints, everyone involved has benefited by working together.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Holmes, the plans NCO with the 520th Military Working Dog Detachment explained how good it has been working with the Philippine military. "I have absorbed their information as well and I'm going to be able to take that back to my counterparts back in the states."

The Philippine army enjoyed working alongside the U.S. Army and was happy with the lessons they received.

"We are lucky to have Sgt. 1st Class Alvira and Staff Sgt. Holmes conducting lectures pertaining to canine operations," said Philippine Army Maj. Christopher C. Manimtim with the K9 Battalion. "And also to share some of the best practices not only for the U.S. army but for the Philippine soldiers."

Sharing ideas and training tools does not just benefit the canine programs, but also the military as a whole. It creates a familiarity with another's branch of service which helps in times of need. Working together to share tips on how to better military programs, helps everyone by creating and strengthening bonds.

"Anytime that you're interacting with a partner, your building on readiness; you're building on interoperability," Alvira added. "It's allowing us to build trust and confidence in the abilities of both nations. So anytime that you can interact with another nation in an exercise such as Salakinib or Balikatan, it allows us to get better as a joint force."

Both sides become strengthened as a team in many ways. Everyone has shared a lot of new concepts and methods; and hope to expand their training and work together for many years.