BY SKY M. LARON, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
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U.S. Marines assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, II Marine Expeditionary Force offload from an MV-22 Osprey as a Joint Rapid Reaction Force executing an aerial insert to seize a scenariobased objective as part of Exercise Balikatan 2016, in Antique, Philippines. –U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Hilda M. Becerra
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka personnel deployed in support of Exercise Balikatan 2016 in the Philippines April 4-16.
Balikatan is an annual Philippine-U.S. military bilateral training exercise that is a signature element of the Philippine-U.S. alliance focused on a variety of missions to include humanitarian assistance, maritime law enforcement and environmental protection.
Balikatan means “shoulder-to-shoulder,” and characterizes the spirit of this bilateral Philippines-U.S. exercise.
“Exercise Balikatan is a great training event for [NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka] as it ties in both blue and green support while operating with a key regional ally,” said Cmdr. Shane Strohl, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, executive officer. “We get a lot of value both on the ground and at several of our regional sites as we support the exercise, exercise preps and redeployment of forces.”
The focus was to successfully ensure logistics services were provided in support of bilateral Navy and Marine Corps operations throughout the Philippines area of responsibility (AOR), said Gunnery Sgt. Taofia Piliati, exercise J4 Joint Distribution senior noncommissioned officer-in-charge and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Marine detachment member.
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Gunnery Sgt. Taofia Piliati (far-left), exercise J4 Joint Distribution senior noncommissioned officer-in-charge and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Marine detachment member, stands with U.S. Marines that have disembarked United States Naval Ship Millinocket in Subic Bay, Philippines Apr. 5 in order to participate in Balikatan 2016. – Photo by Capt. Roy Crockett, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka
“NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s strength has traditionally been its flexibility, AOR knowledge, contracting services, and ability to support PAX, mail, and cargo transit,” said Capt. Roy Crockett, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Marine detachment officer in charge and exercise management group supply planner. “Even during this exercise, other real-world operations continue and our deployed personnel are remaining busy supporting units throughout the 7th Fleet AOR.”
In addition to deployed Marines aiding in exercise support, on-site NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka personnel in the Philippines added to the experienced team of logisticians that supported the warfighter during Balikatan 2016, said Andrew “AJ” Corcoran, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka logistics plans specialist.
“Mr. Ernie Sazon and Mr. Phil Rarugal are our ‘Face to the Fleet’ and boots-on-ground, serving as NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Manila’s onsite logistics support representatives for Subic Bay and other Philippine ports, while performing logistic support functions for all aspects of shipboard management to all ships participating in Balikatan 2016,” said Ramon Malate, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, Site Manila director. “With over 40 years of experience combined they integrate all shore-based logistics support to meet customer ship requirements as well as visiting ships in port daily and responding to various requests, which keeps communication lines open with visiting units to ensure optimum combat capability through logistic services.”
“NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka provides direct and indirect support to over 30 exercises annually,” said Corcoran. “Exercises like these help us and the Navy to establish good working relationships with partners and geographic familiarization within the region, which adds to our institutional knowledge and may be leveraged in the event of real-world operations.”
During Balikatan 2016, Philippine and U.S. service members conducted humanitarian civil assistance projects throughout Panay and Palawan. Military service members from both countries conducted combined simulation supported events and operational events in three main commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other major Philippine military camps such as Crow Valley, Fort Magsaysay, Clark Air Field, Subic Bay, Palawan and Panay to improve their ability to work together, partnering in capabilities and plan follow-on operations.
“The presence of [NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka] personnel during this exercise has helped to synchronize logistics support and bridge communication gaps and our vast network of regional contacts has proved to be indispensable during this exercise,” said Corcoran. “We’ve become the first stop when someone has a question about Navy logistics.”