25th ID troops practice jungle survival at Balikatan

| May 16, 2014 | 0 Comments
FORT MAGSAYSAY, Phillipines — Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, dons protective gear in preparation to observe a live-fire drill, here, May 7, conducted by Philippine and U.S. Soldiers during Balikatan 2014.

Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, dons protective gear in preparation to observe a live-fire drill, May 7, conducted by Philippine and U.S. Soldiers during Balikatan 2014.

Story and photo by
Lance Cpl. Shaltiel Dominguez
1st Marine Logistics Group
FORT MAGSAYSAY, Phillipines — The cobra hissed and flailed violently as Tech. Sgt. Riden A. Dumalig, an instructor with the Philippine Army Special Forces, demonstrated to American Soldiers how to prepare it for nourishing themselves in a jungle environment should the need arise.
This lesson was just one of the many learned by more than 60 Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 7th Artillery Regiment; 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regt.; and 3rd Bn., 4th Cavalry Regt., 25th Infantry Division, as they participated in a jungle survival training course as part of Exercise Balikatan 2014, May 4.
Units with the 25th ID conducted bilateral training exercises with their Philippine counterparts, May 5-15.
Instructors from Philippine Army Special Forces taught the Soldiers jungle survival fundamentals, such as trapping, foraging, nutrition, and preparing animals and plants for consumption. Among the resources used for survival were coconuts, herbs, wild goats, fish, chickens and even snakes.
“It’s important that Soldiers are able to survive off the land, sustain themselves, especially in environments where there’s not much opportunities for resupply,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas Risher, 3-4th Cav. Regt. “If we can feed ourselves out there, then we can last longer and fight harder.”
The unique training provided the Soldiers with valuable knowledge and skills from subject matter experts who have had decades of experience in their field.
“For me, the hands-on instruction we’re getting from the Philippine Special Forces is the best part of the training,” said Risher, of Cincinatti, Ohio. “This is valuable training that we can’t get anywhere else. This is especially valuable at a time when we’re moving out of Iraq and Afghanistan, into other environments, and it allows us to be more prepared for conflicts in the Pacific or anywhere there’s a jungle environment.”
Furthermore, the event provided the U.S. Soldiers with opportunities to build rapport and camaraderie with the Philippine Special Forces instructors, as they shared not only food, but also stories and experiences from Afghanistan to the Southern Philippines.
“I like training and interacting with the American Soldiers,” said Dumalig. “It’s a good learning experience for both parties, and I feel that we are teaching them valuable knowledge that will help them when they conduct operations in the jungle.”

Balikatan 2014
Balikatan is an annual joint-exercise between the U.S. and the Philippines, designed to foster cooperation and interoperability between the two nations’ armed forces through training, as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief projects.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News, Training

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