FORT MAGSAYSAY, Philippines -- U.S. Army Pacific Soldiers kicked off the start of Salaknib 2022 alongside the Philippine Army's 1st Brigade Combat Team at an opening ceremony March 5, 2022, at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, Philippines.
Salaknib is an annual Philippine Army-led, U.S. Army Pacific sponsored bilateral exercise designed to enhance U.S. and Philippine Army capacity and interoperability across the spectrum of military operations, while also strengthening the ties between the two long-standing partner nations.
U.S. Army Pacific Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane and the Philippine Army Exercise Director, Brig. Gen. Alvin B. Flores presided over the ceremony.
“The United States just published an Indo-Pacific strategy,” said McFarlane. “Two key aspects of that strategy are to build connections in the region and to bolster security in pursuit of a free and open Pacific. This exercise is a demonstration not only to each other, but to all those around the world with inclinations of not abiding by a free and open Pacific.”
Approximately 1,100 U.S. Army Soldiers and their Philippine Army counterparts are scheduled to participate in Salaknib 2022 until the last week of March, with training exercises occurring at Fort Magsaysay and Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base.
Participating U.S. units include the 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Division Sustainment Brigade, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade, 413th Contracting Command, 130th Engineer Brigade and more.
Soldiers from both nations will participate in a range of field training and live fire exercises and receive instruction and share best practices in multiple functional areas, including fire support, communications, engineering, counter-improvised explosive devices, and military intelligence.
This year’s Salaknib will also feature the first ever U.S. validated Jungle Operations Training Course taught by the 25th Infantry Division Lightning Academy and Soldiers from 2-27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
“Bringing the Lightning Academy’s jungle course to the Philippines is something we really wanted to do,” said Col. Josh Bookout, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander. “When you experience tough training together you form a closer bond, and that’s what Salaknib is all about, building relationships.”
McFarlane concluded his opening remarks with a final reminder to all the participants.
"Just remember, together we are one team, and this one team is prepared for one fight if it ever comes to that, and this exercise demonstrates that capability.”