CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines —
U.S. and Philippine armed forces work to cultivate strong partnerships between the two nations by exchanging and demonstrating best practices and procedures during exercise Balikatan 2018, scheduled May 7-18 at various locations across the Philippines.
This year marks the 34th iteration of the annual training event focused on a variety of missions including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and mutual defense. This year’s Balikatan also focuses on interoperability training events designed to enhance the combined capabilities of both the Philippine and U.S. armed forces.
‘We Want to be Interoperable’
“We came to Balikatan because we want to be interoperable with the Philippine military and with our joint counterparts,” said Air Force Lt. Col. John Matuszak, Balikatan exercise coordinator and deputy commander of the 36th Contingency Response Group from Andersen Air Base in Guam. “We learn a lot from each other just by talking and asking questions about how we do things.”
Balikatan is a Filipino term that means “shoulder to shoulder” or “sharing the load together” and characterizes the spirit of the exercise. Over the next several days, both nations will participate in multiple subject matter expert exchanges designed to enhance their capabilities.