US, Philippines wrap up what could be last joint exercise
CROW VALLEY, Philippines — The Philippine armored vehicle that bogged down Monday while following U.S. Marine Corps trucks across a muddy river at the Crow Valley Range Complex symbolized the allies’ frayed relationship — frustrating and seemingly going nowhere fast.
U.S. and Philippines marines, participating in the annual PHIBLEX exercise, have been at the range, near Clark Air Base, a two-hour drive north of Manila, for the past week.
They’ve been doing this type of training for decades, but it’s unclear how much longer that will happen with new Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte throwing mud at U.S. officials in the form of crass insults and threats to end the bilateral training and get closer America’s rivals, Russia and China.
A large contingent of local media was on hand when the vehicle got struck. They had just watched the Marines fire rockets from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and rounds from M-777 howitzers before U.S. and Philippines infantry loaded into trucks and Humvees to ford the river.
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