Balikatan 11   HOMEPAGE
US, Philippine forces build classrooms, friendships
By U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Akanewich

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Armed Forces of the Philippines Col. Harold Cabreros (center) congratulates U.S. troops during an awards ceremony and dedication at Pedro L. Quines Elementary School at Tarlac Philippines. The community assistance program project to renovate the school was part of Balikatan 2011, a joint operation between U.S. and AFP forces that fosters a foundation upon which to build and maintain a long, fruitful relationship.
TARLAC, PHILIPPINES - Engineers with the U.S. and Philippine armed forces worked April 8 to put finishing touches on classrooms built at the Pedro L. Quines Elementary School during a Balikatan 2011 civic assistance project.

Officials said the added classrooms will provide much needed educational space for the growing community.

"This area is especially in need of additional schools," said project commander Col. Harold Cabreros, an Armed Forces of the Philippines Army officer. "More children will be attending this school this year, so we had to address this increase."

U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey Milhorn, commander of the 130th Engineer Battalion, also oversaw the construction project.

"Today is a day to give thanks to both U.S. and Philippine forces for building this school," Milhorn said. "Everything has gone as scheduled and we've had no problems."

First Lt. Clinton Holbrook, a U.S. Marine with the Combat Assault Battalion, said a brotherhood between U.S. Marines and community members was instantaneous as soon as boots hit the ground. Holbrook led day-to-day operations with his AFP counterpart.

"The first day we got here, we had lunch together and we've been good friends ever since," said Holbrook, whose men recently returned from Afghanistan. "[Lunch is] really the only time during the work day when we can interact socially, but it goes a long way in furthering our working relationship."

Holbrook praised AFP forces on site for their knowledge and work ethic.

"These guys really know what they're doing," he said. "A lot of the equipment they use is old-school technology, but they make it work for them and the results are reflective of that."

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SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES, Philippines - At a school in San Antoinio, Zambales, Philippines, Angel C. Manglicmot Elementary School, Philippine and U.S. servicemembers and local residents unload school furniture April 8 during Balikatan 2011. Furniture including desks and chairs was donated by the U.S. Agency for International Development.