US Army delegates, PHL Army chief discuss army-to-army exercise

United States Army Pacific delegates paid a courtesy call to the Philippine Army Commanding General here today, January 21.

Deputy Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Leahy and his party were welcomed by Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and other PA Senior staff.

The Army leaders discussed future plans for Salaknib 2020, an army-to-army bilateral exercise that aims to fortify both forces’ capabilities and interoperability in conventional, joint and combined operations as well as their skill competencies in counter-terrorism operations.

During the call, Gapay recommended to extend the training for two to four months in order give more focus on PA’s developing units such as the Army Aviation Regiment (Provisional), 2nd Multiple Launch Rocket System Battery, 1st Land-based Missile System Battery and Cyber Battalion.

“We’re interested in helping where we can and [also] learn from your experience. Showing you what we know and the experiences we have and mostly, getting the teams together,” Leahy during the talk.

Gapay also recalled the PA’s Salaknib contingent, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, and its experience last year wherein suicide bombers attacked the unit in Jolo, Sulu and were neutralized immediately. “[We want to further] train the newly created units and orient them in their special assignments. [As they are part] of Army’s future force in defense,” said Gapay.

“Exercises such as the Salaknib give the Philippine Army an opportunity to advance its competencies and gain additional knowledge necessary for capability development, enabling us to be more effective in safeguarding the nation against terrorist threats,” said Gapay. PHILIPPINE ARMY