CLARK AIR BASE, Republic of the Philippines -- Service members with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 arrived at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines Feb. 19, in support of Exercise Haribon Tempest 2014.
HT 14 is a small-scope bilateral exercise between the United States Marine Corps and the Philippine Air Force focused on increasing both mission readiness and combined combat capabilities.
Close-air support and section engaged maneuvering training is the main purpose behind this exercise, as well as maintaining good relations with the Filipino people.
Within moments of arrival, Marines worked hard to prepare equipment and set up workstations for use during the event.
“We hit the ground running,” said Lt. Col. Raymond Ayres, commanding officer of VMFA(AW)-224. “This particular exercise may be short, but it is no less important; that’s why we have to work more diligently and thoroughly. The Philippine armed forces have always been our allies in the pacific theater and we want to keep that long running relationship with them. That’s why exercises like this one are important, to build that trust in one another.”
Ayres said HT 14 is important in strengthening our allies’ military presence, while increasing proficiency in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat.
Aircraft mechanics work around the clock to prepare aircrafts for optimal performance in practice drills.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” said Cpl. Alex Messina, an aircraft mechanic with VMFA(AW)-224. “We have more flights taking off here, so it’s important for us to be on our toes.”
Messina said he is impressed with the work the Marine Corps and the Philippine military are conducting, and he looks forward to working with them to improve combat capabilities.
With the arrival of VMFA(AW)-224 to Clark Air Base, both Marines and Philippine Air Force service members look forward to working with one another during the exercise.