From USS Essex Public Affairs
The forward-deployed amphibious ship USS Essex (LHD 2) departed Subic Bay, the Republic of the after completing bilateral training during Balikatan 2008 and a scheduled port visit to to backload Marines, March 6.
During Balikatan 2008, Essex operated with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit in the vicinity of Western Luzon working bilaterally with the Armed Forces of the . Balikatan 2008 was the 24th annual event held under the auspices of the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement.
"Balikatan was a very successful training exercise for the Sailors and Marines on Essex, "said Capt. Brent Canady, ' commanding officer. "The opportunity for us to once again work with our friends and strategic partners of the Philippine Navy was wonderful. We were able to complete complex naval exercises that required advanced planning and constant communication in order to execute our part of the exercise. I look forward to the next combined exercise with our Philippine partners, so that we can continue to build on the solid foundation that we have already laid."
The and Philippine navies trained together in maritime interdiction operations, visit, board, search and seizure, formation steaming and a variety of gun exercises.
The interoperability training allows for a better understanding of each others capabilities. Balikatan 2008 allowed both countries service members to work together so they could learn from each other and share experiences through maritime security planning and training.
Essex departed , for its spring patrol throughout the Western Pacific region, Jan. 24 and after departing the Republic of the will continue spring patrol by doing naval exercises with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group currently on deployment in the Western Pacific.
Essex's presence in the Western Pacific demonstrates the commitment to fulfilling treaty obligations and security arrangements in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility and helps to foster peace and stability in the region.