An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | April 23, 2021

U.S. and Philippine Forces Conclude 36th Balikatan Exercise

U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

MANILA, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines -- Service members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and United States Armed Forces concluded the 36th iteration of Balikatan Exercise on Friday, April 23 with a small ceremony held at the General Headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

“The successful conduct of this year’s Balikatan Exercise 36-2021 has definitely brought us a step closer towards our goal of capacitating our forces, and as such, will consequently contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific Region,” said AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana.

The Chief of Staff was joined by the Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana; U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires John Law; Major General Edgard Arevalo, the Commander of the AFP Education Training and Doctrine Command and this year’s Exercise Director; Brigadier General Fernando Reyeg, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Education and Assistant Exercise Director of BK36-2021; and Colonel Aaron Brunk of the U.S. III Marine Expeditionary Force, Officer in Charge for Exercise Support Group.

“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, both Filipino and American forces were able to achieve the objectives of this year’s Balikatan Exercise – to train together on defense and security efforts, leveraging on the capability, experience, and strength of both militaries’ longstanding friendship,” Major General Arevalo said.

Due to the global health crisis, the magnitude of Balikatan 2021 was scaled down both in numbers of events and participants. Approximately 225 U.S. military personnel and 415 AFP personnel participated; all of whom strictly followed health and safety protocols.

“Balikatan showcases the strength and resolve of the Philippine-U.S. Alliance,” said Chargé d’Affaires Law. “These exercises demonstrate and improve our ability to jointly respond to crises. But training is never over. We will continue to advance our military-to-military partnership in pursuit of our shared commitment to mutual defense in a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Major Balikatan 2021 events were held in Colonel Ernesto Ravina Airbase in Tarlac, where combined Air Force and Special Operations forces conducted close air support training, increasing interoperability across the joint forces.

AFP Northern Luzon Command Battle Staff and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command representatives conducted a bilateral staff exercise in Clark, Pampanga, while Philippine and U.S. Special Operations forces conducted a Bilateral Staff Academic Seminar in Taguig City.

Academic discussions and subject matter expert exchanges were held virtually to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Philippine Air Force and U.S. Pacific Air Forces conducted a virtual Global Health Engagement and other virtual training on various air operations and capabilities.

The exercise also included Humanitarian and Civic Assistance activities, which began on March 26, prior to the opening of the exercises. Philippine and U.S. service members completed the constructions of two classrooms and a daycare center in Plaridel, a classroom in Atimonan, and a health clinic in Mauban, all within Quezon Province.

“The 36th Balikatan Exercise brought together AFP and U.S. Armed Forces amidst the challenge of a never-before-experienced health emergency. Our participants greatly benefitted from trainings, exchange of knowledge, and cooperative activities aimed at better enhancing our capabilities,” Major General Arevalo said.

Secretary Lorenzana recognized the shared commitment to the longstanding U.S.-Philippines Alliance. “Allow me to convey my gratitude to the U.S. Government, represented here by Mr. John Law, for its unwavering support to this annual exercise. I am likewise grateful for your constant and continued assurance of the ironclad commitment to our Mutual Defense Treaty,” he said.

Balikatan, which means “shoulder-to-shoulder” in Filipino, embodies the Alliance and friendship between the Philippines and United States. The exercise officially opened on April 12 and was conducted in Northern and Southern Luzon for two weeks.

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Tempest Express Builds Multinational Crisis Response Capabilities
May 23, 2024 - Mongolia, the United States, and other global partners participated in the Tempest Express 39 multinational workshop in Ulaanbaatar, May 14-22, 2024. Tempest Express 39 builds upon continued coordination of previous...

USINDOPACOM PMTEC Commercial Industry Day
240517-N-ZZ099-1011 (17 MAY 2024) U.S. Indo-Pacific Command 's Pacific Multi-Domain Training Experimentation Capability (PMTEC) program office, led by Dr. Andre Stridiron recently hosted an Industry Engagement event which drew over 160 representatives from nearly 60 companies in attendance.
May 23, 2024 - U.S. Indo-Pacific Command 's Pacific Multi-Domain Training Experimentation Capability (PMTEC) program office, led by Dr. Andre Stridiron recently hosted an Industry Engagement event which drew over 160 representatives from...

First US Army Reserve and Philippine Army Reserve Subject Matter Expert Exchange
U.S. Army Reserve 1st Sgt. David Albert, assigned to 3rd Mobilization Support Group, facilitates a block of instruction on personal data sheets to members of the Philippine Army Reserve during Exercise Balikatan 24 at Echague Isabela, Philippines, April 10, 2024. BK 24 is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Maj. Gene Espinoza)
May 22, 2024 - U.S. Army Soldiers from the 3rd Mobilization Support Group, held the first-ever Army Reserve Subject Matter Expert Exchanges with the Philippine Army Reserve during Exercise Salaknib and Exercise Balikatan 24 in April, 2024...

15th SPSS innovates with Mount Official Scheduling System
Members of the Mount Official Scheduling System team pose atop the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakalā in Hawaii. In just under six months, the MOSS team created and deployed a web-based application that provides the warfighter with 15-20% more Space Domain Awareness data. (Courtesy photo provided by U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Holland)
May 22, 2024 - Perched atop the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakalā in Hawaii, lives Space Delta 2’s 15th Space Surveillance Squadron. The 15th SPSS operates the Maui Space Surveillance Complex and is home to small, medium, and large-aperture...

Pacific Air Forces Airmen participate in multilateral logistics, safety symposium in New Zealand
Ally and partner nations' personnel gathered for the annual Indo-Pacific Command and Pacific Air Forces C-130 and Fighter Logistics and Safety Symposium, or LASS, in New Zealand May 13-17, 2024. Countries in attendance this year included: United States, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jimmie D. Pike)
May 22, 2024 - Ally and partner nations gathered in New Zealand for the annual Indo-Pacific Command and Pacific Air Forces C-130 and Fighter Logistics and Safety Symposium, or LASS...