YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea -- Eighth Army will deploy approximately 500 Soldiers to the Republic of the Philippines to participate in exercise Balikatan, April 5 - 15.

Members of the 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division will join approximately 6,000 U.S. servicemembers during the exercise.

The focus of Balikatan 2011 is combined training with the armed forces of the Philippines to be better prepared to provide humanitarian relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety.

Philippine and U.S. servicemembers will conduct humanitarian assistance projects in communities in Central and Southern Luzon. Military medical personnel will offer free medical, dental and veterinary care, and military engineers will construct and repair schools and other infrastructure in communities in need of assistance.

Balikatan 2011 provides unique and dynamic training opportunities for U.S. forces stationed in the Republic of Korea while also promoting relationship-building between militaries and local communities that will ultimately yield long-term security dividends for the region and the ROK-U.S. Alliance.

This will be the 27th in this series of annual bilateral exercises and is held under the auspices of the Philippine-U.S Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement.