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PHIBLEX 15 comes to conclusion, leaves successful civic assistance projects.

As the Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015 (PHIBLEX 15) come to conclusion, U.S. Marines reflect on their experiences and expressed desire to come back to the country for more opportunity to work side-by-side with their Philippine counterparts.

This, as they leave behind relationships they have built not only with members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) but also with the local communities.

"I would jump all on it if I had the opportunity to come back to a follow on PHIBLEX," said Capt. Kyle McCarley, company commander of 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB), 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Together with Philippine Navy Seabees, members of the 9ESB completed humanitarian civic assistance projects at the Concepcion and Binduyan elementary schools in Palawan. The HCA projects consisted of building walkways, overhangs and multipurpose concrete areas designed to benefit the schools in various ways.

"I would jump all on it if I had the opportunity to come back to a follow on PHIBLEX. This has been a phenomenal experience to be able watch my Marines develop their MOS; to work hand-in-hand with the Philippine seabees and to watch them build something from the ground up," said McCarley.

"It's also a humbling experience to see them build something that will benefit these schools for years to come," he added.

For Gunnery Sgt. Luis Respardo, a platoon sergeant with 9ESB, "the PHIBLEX was a success because everything we came out here to do we accomplished before our timeline."

According to Respardo, they were working late and constantly tired and that the weather affected them severely because it rained a lot. "Despite that we accomplished the mission," he said.

But McCarley said that while the workload was strenuous, that's not what made the exercise unique for the unit.

"The school is in session. You can see many of the students have built relationships with the Marines and the seabees that were working on the project," said McCarley.

"That relationship has strengthened the project. Having the children in the schools watching the Marines and Seabees working on the projects for them and their schools will definitely leave a lasting impact on the children at these elementary schools," he stressed.

CAPTION(S):

U.S. Marine Brig.Gen. Paul Kennedy, center, Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Philippine Marine Maj.Gen. Alexander Balutan, right, Naval Director General and Col. Nathaniel Casem of the Philippine Marines, link arms following the opening ceremony of the joint U.S.-Philippines amphibious landing exercise dubbed PHIBLEX 2015 at the Philippine Marine barracks at Fort Bonifacio at suburban Taguig city east of Manila, Philippines AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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Title Annotation:Latest News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 11, 2015
Words:441
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