The U.S. Marine Corps recently kicked off a training exercise with Philippine Marines called Balikatan 18, but photos streaming in from the exercise might indicate some serious supply shortfalls for the Philippine troops.
Images posted to the Defense Department’s imagery website show Philippine Marines sporting M4s, M16s, and even an M14. Some of the host nation force Marines have rail mounted sophisticated Aimpoint red dot sights, while others brandish weapons from a bygone era.
Granted, Philippine forces just months ago were still amidst a bloody campaign to liberate ISIS fighters from the Philippine city of Marawi.
However, Philippine commandos storming the populous city appeared well equiped, brandishing M4s, rifle optics, PEQ-2 laser designators, grenade launchers, machine guns, and Harris tactical radio systems, according to video’s posted online by the commando group.
That American equipment was part of a new assistance package dubbed Operation Pacific Eagle.
But images coming out of Balikatan 18 seem to question America’s assistance to its ally fighting ISIS in the region.
The above photo shows a Philippine Marine carrying an M14. The M14 entered the U.S. military around 1959 and was slowly replaced by the M16 in the 1960s.
But in another photo a Philippine Marine can be seen carrying an M4 with Aimpoint red dot sight and under barrel M203 grenade launcher.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.