USNS 2ND LT John P. Bobo Participates in Balikatan 2014
- Training & Education
Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 3 flagship USNS 2ND LT John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008) arrived in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, April 23 for Balikatan 2014.
“Balikatan is an annual Marine Corps bilateral joint exercise encompassing a staff exercise, humanitarian and civic assistance events, and joint field training exercises to improve interoperability and capacity of Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Capt. Leonard Remias, commander of MPSRON 3. “This exercise is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the squadron’s ability to deliver Maritime Prepositioning Force equipment and supplies to the Philippines.”
Bobo’s embarked MPF team – comprising Sailors from Navy Cargo Handling Battalion Detachment 1 based out of Williamsburg, Va., and Marines from the III Marine Expedition Force in Okinawa, Japan and Bobo’s merchant mariner crew – will off-load more than 200 pieces of tactical and amphibious assault vehicles, cargo containers, and associated items.
The III MEF Offload Preparation Party is conducting roll-on/roll-off operations to transport vehicles to the pier via the Bobo’s stern ramp. Concurrently, the NCHB-1 detachment will off-load various cargo containers using Bobo’s organic cranes.
During the five-week port visit, the squadron also plans to coordinate community service projects.
“We’re eager to lend a hand and have been conducting cultural training prior to our arrival and working to identify local projects with orphanages and schools,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Jomer Veras, who is a native of Las Pinas, Metro Manila. “I’m excited about visiting the Philippines and working Balikatan, which means “shoulder-to-shoulder,” with the community.”
“This is a great opportunity to participate in Balikatan 2014,” said Lt. Blaque Washington, officer in charge of NCHB-1. “We have an opportunity to strengthen United States and Philippine relations, and display our capabilities for humanitarian assistance. Just knowing we can help a nation in distress at a moments notice, and being a key player is well worth the personal sacrifices we all make to serve.”
Balikatan 2014 is the third and final event Bobo will participate in this spring in support of USMC III Marine Expedition Force strategic objectives in the region; having already completing Freedom Banner 2014, an annual Marine Corps training exercise, and a operational sealift in support of Marine Rotational Forces – Darwin deployment to Australia.
MPSRON 3, forward deployed to Saipan, oversees 11 government-owned and commercially-contracted ships of the Military Sealift Command. The squadron ships are capable of providing hospital equipment, heavy armor, vehicles, petroleum and liquid products and other supplies, ensuring an immediately available and rapid response to theater crises, humanitarian disasters or other contingency operation in support of the combatant commander.
Press Release, April 30, 2014; Image: US Navy