January 27, 2021 – Philippine Navy vessel BRP SALVADOR ABCEDE (PC114) spearheaded the conduct of a Joint Gunnery Exercise (GUNNEX) dubbed as the “1st PA-PN Joint Gunnery Exercise of Eastern Visayas” with Army participants from 802nd Brigade, Philippine Army on 24 January 2021 at the sea waters South of Camotes Island.
The GUNNEX simulated a scenario of hot pursuit to fleeing insurgents onboard motorized bancas after a firefight with Army Company at a certain coastal municipality. The Navy contingent composed of PC114 with onboard special operations team from 802nd Brigade, PA and two (2) patrol boats from the 5th PB Division were tapped to interdict the target.
A Naval gunnery target balloon dubbed as “killer tomato” was utilized as the target during the Gunnex using onboard naval guns of PN and small arms of the Philippine Army contingent to maintain a state of readiness in target acquisition and gunnery skills. Additionally, a camera drone from 802nd Brigade, PA was also used to cover the activity.
The 1st PN-PA Joint GUNNEX in Eastern Visayas was crafted and implemented successfully enhancing the principle of “jointness” to attain synergy among Navy sailors and Army troopers fighting against the same enemy. It also intended to maintain a high level of proficiency and combat readiness in a maritime environment. Tactical maneuvers were performed by PC114, PB356, and PB358 throughout the scenario.
The Joint live firing exercise was conducted with the observance of safety and COVID-19 health practices. A Notice to Mariner (NOTAM) was issued prior to the test-fire date to advise transiting vessels of the danger in the exercise area. Picket boats were also utilized to sweep and secure the designated firing area from unwanted traffic intrusion. Furthermore, the army medical team was also on board PC114 for medical intervention.
PC114 under the direction of NTF50 of Naval Forces’ Central served well in the Joint Task Force Storm organization as a proficient and combat-ready naval component for Eastern Visayas operations.