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 20, 2015

31st Iteration of Balikatan Kicks Off

By Cpl. Matthew Bragg, Marine Corps Installations Pacific

Government officials and senior military leaders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Armed Forces announced the opening of Exercise Balikatan 2015 at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Republic of the Philippines, April 20.

Balikatan, which translates to “shoulder-to-shoulder” in Filipino, is an annual bilateral exercise between the AFP and the U.S. military, which focuses on improving security cooperation activities, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities, and crisis response throughout the region in accordance with the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board.

“We know from previous generations of Balikatan that, working together, security and stability aren’t free," said Brig. Gen. C. J. Mahoney, the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific deputy commander and deputy director of the exercise. “We have to work at it, and I believe Balikatan and many other exercises we conduct throughout the year are concrete examples of how like-minded nations can work cooperatively to address our common interests and concerns.”

Approximately 6,500 U.S., 5,000 AFP and 70 Australian Defence Force personnel will take part in the 31st iteration of the exercise, which consists of a series of humanitarian civic assistance projects, a scenario-based staff planning exercise focused on territorial defense, and field training exercises to enhance military-to-military relationships.

Similar to past Balikatan exercises, the AFP and U.S. military will conduct medical, dental, veterinary and engineering civic action projects to enhance the Philippine-U.S. relationship, train together and assist the local community.

“It’s about working together shoulder to shoulder as partners, friends and allies,” said Philip S. Goldberg, the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines. “It’s about preparing to confront emerging challenges across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Goldberg reiterated that the increased presence of troops participating in the exercise were not aimed at any country or group of countries.

“We speak on the mutual defense of our two countries, but it is the men and the women of the armed services that see these commitments through,” said Evan Garcia, the acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs. “We stand tall not simply as allies, but also as friends bound by shared principles. The region and the world may change, but our dedication to the promotion of the principles of democracy and freedom remains.”

Like Us
Follow Us



Andersen AFB Updates on Services post Typhoon Mawar
Satellite image of Typhoon Mawar taken May 25, 2023.  Image courtesy 325th Operational Support Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
May 31, 2023 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Members of Team Andersen continue to prevail in the wake of Typhoon Mawar and persevere through the lack of services across the island; meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Paul Fast, 36th Wing commander,...

Decorated American Officer’s Last Remains to Head Home After 58 Years
Major General Harry Kleinbeck Pickett, Decorated American Officer’s Last Remains to Head Home After 58 Years.  Courtesy photo
May 31, 2023 - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India -- The last remains of one of America’s most decorated officers, Major General Harry Kleinbeck Pickett, who fought in both World War I and World War II, is being returned home to the United...

Friendship Jump 2023
Japan Ground Self-Defense paratroopers with the 1st Airborne Brigade carry his parachute during the Japanese-American Friendship Festival 2023 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 21, 2023. Paratroopers from the U.S. Army 1st SFG (Airborne), USAF 320th Special Tactics Squadron, and JGSDF 1st Airborne Brigade conducted static-line jump demonstrations to show their capabilities during the festival. During the two-day festival, 193,000 attendees came to Yokota to experience the event. The festival is aimed at increasing bilateral relationships between U.S. and Japanese communities and allows people to see U.S. and Japanese military capabilities first-hand. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)
May 31, 2023 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, TOKYO, Japan -- The annual Yokota Friendship Festival Joint Capabilities Demonstration draws in many festival-goers to view airborne demonstrations, with the 36th Airlift Squadron using their C-130J Super...

U.S. Philippines, Japan, Coast Guards Conduct Joint Maritime Law Enforcement Training
More than 30 participants from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam joined the Multinational Vessel Boarding Officer Course funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.  Courtesy photo
May 31, 2023 - MANILA, Philippines -- From May 15 to 26, coast guard instructors from the United States, the Philippines, and Japan jointly led a Multinational Vessel Boarding Officer Course in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan that...

USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Launch
May 30, 2023 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii -- “We are aware of the DPRK’s launch using ballistic missile technology, which, is a brazen violation of multiple unanimous UN Security Council resolutions, raises tensions, and risks destabilizing...