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NEWS | April 25, 2024

U.S. Army and Philippine Army Conduct Sling Load Operations During Balikatan

By Staff Sgt. Katelyn Vazquez

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Philippines – U.S. Army Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division joined forces with Philippine Army Soldiers assigned to Army Support Command, 7th Infantry Division, and Special Forces Regiment Airborne to conduct Low-Cost Low Altitude dropping and sling load operations during Exercise Balikatan 2024 on Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, April 22, 2024.

The purpose of the training was to strengthen interoperability between the participating forces and facilitate valuable training opportunities for the Philippine Army.

“This training enhances our partnership with the Philippine Army by showing them our techniques and procedures,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Flynn, a CH-47 pilot with 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. “A shared understanding of how our allies work is only going to help us in the future for larger operations.”

Increasing interoperability with the Philippine Army holds significant importance for U.S. military, as it allows us to increase complexities in our training, fostering cooperation and readiness between the two forces.

“The most important reason for completing this exercise is that, because of their terrain, the sling load operation would be incredibly important and beneficial for the Philippine Army to use out here in the Philippines,” said Chief Warrant Officer Trevor Colclasure, an Airdrop Systems Technician assigned to the 25th Division Support Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Colclasure was in charge of ensuring successful offload of the LCLA drops during the exercise.

The sling load and LCLA drops fostered significant opportunities for both the U.S. military and the Philippine Army to engage with one another as several different forces, and to strengthen partnerships by offering hands-on experience with U.S. Army aircraft.

The sling load and LCLA drops presented invaluable opportunities for the U.S. Army and the Philippine Army to engage closely, showcasing the spirit of cooperation inherent in Exercise Balikatan. By working and training together, both forces could exchange expertise and deepen their partnership bonds, ultimately bolstering not just their individual units' readiness but also the overall readiness of the combined military force.