San Fernando City, PHILIPPINES (NNS) – The U.S. and Philippines Navies
kicked off Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama Sama at Naval Station Ernesto
Ogbinar in San Fernando City, Philippines, July 9.
The week-long engagement focuses on the full spectrum of naval capabilities
and is designed to strengthen the close partnership between both navies while
cooperatively ensuring maritime security, stability and prosperity.
Expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3), diving and salvage
ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) and a P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft
will operate alongside Philippine Navy frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF 16) and
landing dock ship BRP Tarlac (LD 601) in at-sea evolutions in the South China
Sea. Evolutions include air defense exercises (ADEX) aimed to increase
proficiency in air and missile defense, diving exercises (DIVEX) to promote
mutual efficiency underwater, and search and rescue exercises (SAREX)
designed to enhance capabilities in aid-and-assistance to distressed mariners.
Shore phase evolutions include symposiums and seminars on a wide range of
naval capabilities including medical, public affairs, engineering, explosive
ordnance disposal and anti-submarine and surface operations, all taking place in
San Fernando City, San Antonio, Manila and Subic.
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will join the exercise as an observer
and valued partner.
"The name of this Maritime Training Activity, Sama Sama, - meaning ‘together,
jointly’ - perfectly captures the spirit and energy of this tremendous event. The
U.S. and Philippine alliance has always been a special relationship based on
mutual trust and respect and strengthened by enduring maritime engagements,"
said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, Commander, Task Force 73. "Built on 70 years of
strong friendship and deep historical ties, our shared interest in maritime security
is what Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama is all about - our shared belief that
regional challenges increasingly require cooperative solutions by capable naval
MTA Sama Sama builds upon other engagements with the Philippines including
Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and
disaster relief preparedness mission, Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training
(SEACAT), which involves more than a dozen partner nations, and Balikatan-34.
These engagements serve to enhance information sharing and coordination and
support long-term regional cooperation.
In July 2017, the U.S. and Philippine Navies conducted a coordinated patrol in
the Sulu Sea demonstrating a mutual commitment to responding to piracy and
illegal transnational activity. Sailors from both navies exchanged best practices in
visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) techniques, as well as information
"It is incredible to see all that will be accomplished during this exercise, as Sailors
and Marines from the U.S. and Philippines work side-by-side across multiple
domains to safely execute and engage on and under the sea, in the air, on land
and in the local communities," said Capt. Lex Walker, Commodore of Destroyer
Squadron 7. "As the MTA continues to evolve in scope and scale, the U.S. and
Philippine Navies will continue sailing together towards the common goals of
increased maritime security and stability."
For more news from Commander, Task Force 73, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf73/.