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PACOM

JSOTF-P brightens spirits at Social Development Center

Twenty members of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines spent a special holiday evening visiting children at the Social Development Center in Zamboanga City Dec. 23. "It made me feel really good to give my time and spent time with the kids. I was excited about it and could tell they were excited to see us," said U.S. Navy Aerographer's Mate 1st Class (AW/SW) Christopher Cross. Founded in 1994, the center serves as a residential facility for children who are abandoned, neglected, orphaned, or abused.

American surgical team making a difference in southern Philippines

Five Airmen are operating a fully-equipped trauma center, providing emergency care, basic medical care and educational services to hundreds of Filipino and U.S. troops on the southern island of Jolo, Philippines. The Air Force members are part of the forward surgical team assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines. The team consists of a general surgeon, nurse anesthetist, two physician assistants specially trained in orthopedics and emergency medicine, and one operating room technician.

Japan-U.S. Military Exercise Improves Readiness

CAMP HIGASHI-CHITOSE, Japan-On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan mutual defense treaty, U.S. and Japanese forces have successfully concluded a major exercise here on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Yama Sakura, an annual joint and combined full-spectrum training exercise, this year involved 1,500 U.S. service members and 3,500 members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. Its focus was the refinement of bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability. "This exercise proves the strength of the long-standing relationship between the U.S.

AFP and JSOTF-P Unveil Shrine and Conduct MEDCAP

Hundreds of residents of Barangay (community) Danag now have a restored shrine and access to free medical care due to the collaborative efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Marine Battalion Landing Team-5 (MBLT-5), Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines and local residents who partnered for both projects in the region Nov. 28. Restoration of the stone shrine is a tribute to AFP Brig. Gen. Teodulfo Bautista and his 34 men who were killed Oct. 10, 1977 in the Patikul municipality while attempting to conduct peace talks with Usman Sali.

Essex Completes Successful ANNUALEX

The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) arrived in Okinawa Nov. 18 to offload the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) after successfully completing Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 21G. Essex Sailors and Combat Cargo Marines moved approximately 75 vehicles and 300 pieces of MEU cargo, as well as dozens of aircraft assigned to the 31st MEU's Aviation Combat Element (ACE), marking the end of the 21st edition of the exercise, which is designed to enhance naval interoperability between the U.S.

Dolphins fly to New Caledonia with Hickam C-17 crew

Airmen aboard C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam transported dolphins from the Navy Marine Mammals Program in San Diego, Calif., to Noumea, New Caledonia, Nov. 8 to locate and dispose of more than 200 contact mines that were leftover from World War II. The active-duty and Reserve C-17 aircrew from JB Hickam helped deliver the dolphins for Lagoon Minex 2009, a humanitarian project in which U.S. forces along with French, Australian and New Zealand military will work together Nov.

Navy, Marine forces train in Japanese-led exercise

In a display of flexibility, coordination and efficiency, more than 1,100 Marines, sailors, and assets assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and the forward-deployed dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) at White Beach Naval Facility during an in-port reconfiguration, Nov. 9-11.

Essex ESG Begins Bilateral Exercise with JMSDF

Amphibious Squadron 11, USS Essex (LHD 2) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46) with embarked Marines got underway from White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 12 for an exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. Annual Exercise 21G (ANNUALEX) is a yearly bilateral training exercise for U.S.

Essex Departs for Annual Exercise 21G

The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) departed Sasebo, Japan, Nov. 1 for a scheduled deployment. Essex's deployment comes at the end of a successful two-month ship's restricted availability (SRA) and will feature Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 21G, conducted annually with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese navies. "The crew and contractors did an outstanding job getting the ship ready to get back underway," said Capt. Troy Hart, Essex's commanding officer.