FORT MAGSAYSAY, Philippines – Seventy-nine U.S. Army Pacific Soldiers assigned to 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and Philippine Army Soldiers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team graduated from the first Mobile Training Team Jungle Operations Training Course during a ceremony at Salaknib on Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, March 24, 2022.
The 12-day training covered the skills required to effectively operate in jungle terrain and included knots, rope assisted movement training, small unit tactics training, extended security hold operations, tracking, medical skills training, waterborne operations, camouflage techniques, and survival training.
The rigorous course concluded in a culminating platoon level operation spanning three days followed by the physically challenging Green Mile.
The course was certified by five Lightning Academy Jungle School cadre members and leaders from 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, who diligently designed the training to meet the standard soldiers could expect at East Range, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Although teaching standards remained high, the jungle terrain differed from that of Hawaii.
“The jungle is neutral - every foreign country that has a jungle environment is different in so many ways,” said Staff Sgt. Nobuo West, a jungle school instructor with Lightning Academy, 25th Infantry Division. “One benefit of running an MTT in the Philippines is learning what types of resources it has to offer, what to avoid, and how to traverse the terrain.”
U.S. Soldiers expressed that their experience training in a new and challenging terrain was enhanced by working alongside their Philippine Army counterparts.
“The Philippine soldiers would go into the jungle and come out with food to feed a bunch of soldiers,” said Spc. Reynaldo Arroyo, an infantryman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. “They knew the terrain much better than us and have more experience in this type of jungle so it was motivating to see how they survived off the land.”
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael Haith, commander of 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, specifically thanked Philippine Army leaders and soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team for their hard work and dedication throughout the planning and execution of the course.
“We learned, by far, more from you than we brought here. You made this course better, you made our students better, you made our instructors better,” Haith said.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Ryan, the commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, told soldiers that although they were unique in being the first to complete the MTT Jungle Operations Training Course, they will not be the last.
While family members were not present to congratulate the soldiers on their accomplishment, new bonds were felt as U.S. and Philippine Army Soldiers hugged and fist-bumped each other on a job well done.
Ryan concluded his remarks with a vision of continued alliance and partnership between the U.S. and Philippine Army through future Mobile Training Team Jungle Operations Training courses.
“What we’ve learned from having you do this, we are going to apply to generations and generations of future Tropic Lightning soldiers and allies and partner soldiers across the region as we apply this Jungle Academy MTT across the region in the future.”