US, AFP forces close Balikatan 2011 exercise in Philippines|
By Sgt. Scott Akanewich
Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, U.S. Army Pacific commander, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Army Rear Adm. Victor Emmanuel Martir, retired the Balikatan 2011 colors during the closing ceremonies April 15 for the bilateral training event at Camp Aguinaldo, Philippines. Wiercinski and Martir were exercise directors for the event. "We have learned a lot from this training," said Martir. "We have tested our capabilities and increased them. Many smiles have been painted on the faces in the community. This is the very essence of what Balikatan is all about." Balikatan, which means "shoulder-to-shoulder" in Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines, is a joint exercise between U.S. and Philippines armed forces during which combat and humanitarian capabilities between the countries are reinforced.