Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karen Blankenship
Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs
SUBIC BAY, Philippines – The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) began the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) with an opening ceremony aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Oct. 8.
PHIBLEX is an annual bilateral exercise held in conjunction with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and is designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and develop professional and personal relationships between U.S. and Philippine forces.
“The missions contained in the exercise will test and strengthen the MEU and ARG’s capability across a wide spectrum of activities,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Gudgin, the future operations planner for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11. “PHIBLEX also assists the Philippines in training their forces to become better at sovereign security and more efficient in the use of their assets.”
PHIBLEX is scheduled to last 10 days and will be conducted at sea and ashore in the Republic of the Philippines. The focus this year is on several humanitarian assistance and infrastructure projects along with tactical field training.
“During the exercise, units from the III Marine Expeditionary Force train with units from all different branches of the AFP in order to strengthen ties and improve cooperation between the two militaries,” said Capt. Jarrod Larson, assistant air officer and lead PHIBLEX planner for the 31st MEU. “The United States has a long standing relationship of mutual cooperation with the AFP and PHIBLEX is an important part of keeping that relationship strong and viable.”
Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. Daniel Dusek, is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed amphibious ready group and is currently operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.