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NEWS | May 21, 2024

First US Army Reserve and Philippine Army Reserve Subject Matter Expert Exchange

3rd Mobilization Support Group

U.S. Army Soldiers from the 3rd Mobilization Support Group, held the first-ever Army Reserve Subject Matter Expert Exchanges with the Philippine Army Reserve during Exercise Salaknib and Exercise Balikatan 24 in April, 2024.

For three weeks, service members of 3rd MSG, based at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, and a direct reporting unit under the 9th Mission Support Command exchanged knowledge on policies, processes, and systems with their PAR counterparts at multiple locations across the island of Luzon.

"The purpose of the bilateral exchange is to develop the institutional knowledge necessary for successful mobilization of Reserve Soldiers for contingencies," said U.S. Army Reserve Col. Chris Nagelvoort, 3rd MSC commander. "The Philippine Army Reserve learned a lot, and so did we."

The United States and the Philippines have an extensive history of security cooperation.. A significant component of this history is the U.S. Army Pacific. Every year, USARPAC sponsors exchanges with the Philippine Army to strengthen partnerships and interoperability in various disciplines and skill sets as part of Exercise Salaknib and Exercise Balakitan. The SMEE provided a clearer understanding of how both Reserve components can interact and operate together in the future.

Leaders from USARPAC, 9th MSC, and the Philippine Army conceived the Reserve SMEE program to share best practices on Reserve readiness - a priority for both Armies. To support this requirement, the 3rd MSG and the Philippine Army Reserve Command developed a multi-year SMEE framework that consists of a series of annual events held at different headquarters elements with a focus on enhancing the scope and scale of mobilization exercises.

"We are proud of the 3rd MSG having been selected by USARPAC and 9th MSC to be the first to partner with our friends in the Philippine Army Reserve in what is to be a 3-year engagement plan," said U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Gene Espinoza, an operations officer with 3rd MSG.

The 3rd MSG was selected to lead the SMEE based on its recent experience managing a large mobilization exercise held on Oahu and its mobilization and deployment to Guam to oversee Typhoon Mawar response operations, both of which occurred in the summer of 2023.

"The SMEE is more than just an information exchange between our two militaries," said U.S. Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Oskar Ramirez, command sergeant major of the 3rd MSG and senior NCO facilitator. "It establishes a baseline from where future participants can gather together to focus on the bi-lateral readiness of our forces, gain insight into true integration between Citizen-Soldiers, adopt new skills, processes, and procedures and strengthen the bond between the Philippines and U.S.".

The 3rd MSG stretches from Alaska to Guam and has deep ties to the area. It continues to utilize its expertise to support and uphold the commitments of the Mutual Defense Treaty, a testament to its dedication and shared purpose. Plans are already underway for future collaborations between the U.S. Army Reserve and its Philippine Army Reserve counterparts.