PH, US navies open joint naval exercise in La Union

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Philippine Navy and the United States Navy has started their join Maritime Training Activity dubbed “Sama-sama”, a week-long event in the province.

This was formally opened in a ceremony graced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom) Chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel B. Salamat as the guest of honor and speaker, onboard BRP Tarlac (LD 601) Pie 1, Poro Point in this city.

ERWIN BELEO/Northbound Philippines News

The ceremony was also attended by Commodore Nichols A. Driz, Naval Forces Northern Luzon commander; United States Rear Admiral Murray Joe Tynch II, commander of the Logistics Group Western Pacific, Task Force 73, Singapore area coordinator; and Japanese Navy Captain Masahiro Goto, the Maritime Operations and Plan, Department Operations Support Division chief of Planning Section.

The general objective of the week-long maritime training activity was for the navies to develop the ability to respond to regional crisis on a bilateral basis and to promote inter-operability, situational awareness and information sharing between the Philippine Navy and the United States Navy forces.

ERWIN BELEO/Northbound Philippines News

The Philippine Navy Del Pilar class frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF16) and landing dock vessel BRP Tarlac (LD-601) together with the US Navy expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket and diving and salvage ship USNS Salvor will participate in the At-Sea training on search and rescue (SAR); medical evacuation; visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS); maritime surveillance; replenishment at sea(RAS), and other related exercises to promote interoperability and develop mutual capabilities to address maritime security priorities.

“This training provides an exceptional opportunity for both Philippine and US Navies to engage in a broader range of maritime operations and unique scenarios in our maritime areas. In this way, we could explore for more cooperation, enhance our interoperability, and provide us effective mechanisms for collaboration and partnership of our Navies in the spirit of our mutual treaty engagement,” said Lt. Gen. Salamat in his speech.

On the other hand, Rear Adm. Tynch said, “The name of this Maritime Training Activity, Sama Sama, – meaning together, jointly – perfectly captures the spirit and energy of this tremendous event. The U.S. and Philippine alliance has always been a special relationship based on mutual trust and respect and strengthened by enduring maritime engagements.’

MTA Samasama 2018 is the second iteration of its series to be conducted annually between the Philippine Navy and the United States Navy under the Mutual Defense Board – Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB). Erwin Beleo/Northbound Philippines News