The U.S. and Philippine navies started the joint maritime training activity Sama Sama in the vicinity of Cebu, Philippines, on June 19.
The week-long exercise will focus on mutual security concerns that affect the Philippines including piracy and sea smuggling, maritime domain awareness and patrol, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness.
The Tagalog phrase “Sama Sama” or “together” is the central theme of the training both at sea and ashore.
“We are honored to work with the US Navy during this Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama,” said Commodore Loumer P. Bernabe, Armed Forces of the Philippines. “Our training together will strengthen our relationships at the operator level and will also strengthen our alliance and partnership in maritime cooperation.”
U.S. assets participating in this year’s exercise include the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) and the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) along with a P-8 Poseidon aircraft. Marines assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force, Navy Seabees, and staff from Commander, Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 will also participate.
The Philippine Navy units will include the Del Pilar Class Frigate BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15), BRP Agta, an AW109 helicopter, and a BN-2 Islander aircraft, a Philippine Marine company and other naval staff will also join the exercise.