Son Of Latta Woman Helping People Rebuild In The Philippines

By Dona Fair
SUBIC BAY, Philippines – Nearly two decades after Mount Pinatubo erupted, spewing tons of ash that killed close to 1,000 people and destroyed or damaged more than 75,000 homes in its path, the son of a Latta woman is back in this lush, tropical paradise to help locals continue to rebuild.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jamoal K. Davis, son of Barbara Mathews of Church St., Latta, is a member of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., who deployed to the island of Luzon to not only train with their Philippine counterparts, but also provide much needed humanitarian and nation-building relief in an area still recovering from the volcano’s devastation.
“I am here to help train the Filipino marines and show them some of our ways to accomplish the mission,” said Davis, who graduated in 2004 from Latta High School.  “We are also trying to strengthen our bonds with the Filipino people and experience their culture.”
The amphibious landing exercise, also called Phiblex ‘11, combined sailors from the USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and USS Denver, along with the Marine Corps unit and members of the Philippine military.  The Americans and Filipinos shared tactics, weapons, even field rations during the exercise to get a better understanding of how each other’s system works.  Davis said the exercise allowed both sides to share ideas and learn from one another, free of walls or boundaries. [slide] “This type of exercise is important because we always need to be ready in the event of a real-world situation,” said Davis.  “We need to be able to work side-by-side with our foreign national counterparts.”
For Davis and his unit, the exercise not only gave them a chance to train in a totally foreign environment, but help in an area where the average daily income is less than ten dollars.  Davis believes the team truly makes a difference.
“I like it here.  The people are very nice and patient, and also willing to learn, teach, and help out,” said Davis, who has been in the military for three years.
“I will try and do my best to come back here on my own time.”
The motto for this year’s exercise, which has been held annually since 2003, is “sama-sama sa pagbigay kalinga,” which translates to “togetherness for the people.” For Davis and his Marine Corps team, it means a togetherness that reaches across different cultures and lifestyles and helps establish a partnership that will last for years to come.

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