OKINAWA, Japan -- A South Side native is participating in a large-scale multilateral exercise in the Republic of the Philippines.
Lance Cpl. Simon Raygoza, a data systems administrator and graduate of George Washington High school, is deployed to Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base in support of Exercise Balikatan 2018. He currently serves in Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa Japan.
“It is cool to see how two nations can come together and work and learn from one another.” Said Raygoza. “At the end of the day it is about building our relationship with the Filipinos and I think we have been pretty successful.”
As a Marine in the Pacific, he takes every opportunity to experience new cultures which were unfamiliar to him growing up in the Chicago suburb.
“I like the Philippines and the people a lot. Being able to try new foods and see how their equipment differs from ours has made it a great experience for me,” he added.
Raygoza’s mission is to oversee all aspects of computer networking administration which allows Marines to communicate in a tactical environment.
Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine military training event focused on a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and other combined military operations. BK 34-2018 will take place in the Philippines May 7 to 18.