Friday, May 11, 2018

Yum: Cobra blood and gunships: The Balikatan exercizes are back

we got "buzzed" by a very slow and very low 4 engine turboprop plane when we went to walk the dog in the city square down the street. It sort of upset the cook, but I just laughed because I have been hearing a plane go over us at a low level once or twice a day in the late afternoon and once or twice in the evening after dark.

and I've heard/seen that plane buzz us before:

Yup. The Balikatan exercizes are going on in nearby Ft Magsaysay, and I presume the city square is used for low level navigation.

Stars and Stripes article HERE.

the PhilSunStar article has more details here.

usually when they are in training, we see these gunships going over,  or larger planes (for parachute practice) at a higher level, and once we saw a parade of helicopters in formation at a low level.

no, this is not about threatening China, who just put missiles etc. in their artificial islands in the Philippine area of the West Philippine sea: this has been going on every year since I moved here 12 years ago.

The training comes in handy, since the US often helps our military with the periodic typhoons/landslide/ etc. that happen here, and of course, and the training makes cooperation easier and allows both sides to teach each other their skills.

 here is the Rappler article, complaining (as usual) that there has not been a lot of press coverage of the military exercize.

The media was initially invited to two field exercises – the amphibious landing exercise in Zambales and live fire exercises at Crow Valley in Tarlac. These two are the staple for media every year. Jungle warfare exercises at the Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija was the third activity traditionally open to the media but was not offered this year.
well it can't be too "secret": they have their own facebook page, with photos. But no photos of our area, so the planes are either buzzing us from Clark or the Ft Magsaysay part hasn't hit the news yet.

Ft Magsaysay is where thethe Philippine special forces teach theUS troops (usually newbies or National Guard types) how to live off the land (usually including teaching them about drinking cobra blood to survive, just to impress them).  Here's a photo from that 2015 Rappler article:

JUNGLE SURVIVAL. Filipinos show US troops how to trap and eat a king cobra for survival. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Samantha Van Winkle/Released

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