Members of the Defence Cooperation Program Sea Training Group have recently completed their sixth rotation conducting Maritime Interoperability Training at Naval Forces Western Mindanao in Zamboanga, Philippines.
Lead by Commander Mitchell Edwards, a small team of Australian Sea Trainers have been deployed to various locations throughout the Operation AUGURY-PHILIPPINES area of operation under Joint Task Force 629.
As part of an Australian Defence Joint Task Force and with air, land and maritime activities simultaneously taking place, the Sea Trainers worked alongside the Philippine Navy Training Team to enhance cooperation, interoperability and strengthen relationships between the Philippines and Australia.
The interoperability training has been focussed on command and control, tactical communications and manoeuvring, picture compilation, seamanship and boarding operations.
The training, which has been attended by numerous Philippine Navy and Marine units, is conducted prior to commencing joint Security and Training Patrols by Armidale Class Patrol Boats in company with Philippine Navy Patrol Boats and Patrol Craft.
Leading Seaman Leigh Newlan of the Defence Cooperation Sea Training Group has undertaken all six rotations.
“It‘s great to be able to impart my knowledge on my counterparts from the Philippine Navy and also to learn from them.
“Working alongside the great guys from the Philippine Navy Sea Training Team was a real buzz and a rewarding experience,” Leading Seaman Newlan said.
Royal Australian Navy ships and personnel are assisting the Philippine Navy, helping them train and helping to develop their capacity to secure their maritime boundaries in the southern Philippines.
It sends a strong message that the Philippine Navy does not work alone but enjoys the support of regional states, and that Australia is a committed security partner in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime.
Qualifying Australian Defence Force members supporting Operation AUGURY-PHILIPPINES have been awarded the Military Merit Medal by the Armed Forced of the Philippines in recognition of their achievements and services rendered.