Philippine marines in 1992
"The task of training these young men into Marines is vested upon us. Today, as we start training them, we will be striking the first hammer blow in forging the "cutting edge" of the Armed Forces."
— LTSG Manuel Gomez's mission on the formation of the Philippine Marine Corps in 1950
Their hard work and training would pay off as the Marine Company conducted its first amphibious landing on April 19, 1951 in Umiray, Quezon, and took part in battle for the first time on June 4 of the same year in Nueva Ecija against communist rebels. These and other notable battles in various parts of the country, as well as overseas deployments to Korea, led to the Navy's decision to complete the 1st Marine Battalion with the raising of B Company in 1955 and the Headquarters and Service Company also in the same year, thus the marine battalion of one HQ company and two marine rifle companies, with now LCDR Lim in charge, was finally complete. (November 7, the date of the 1955 formal raising of the 1st Marine Battalion, is the official date of the Corps Birthday to this very day.)
Further marine companies and a weapons company would later be formed to augment the expansion of the force in the 1960s, and the abilities even expanded to VIP protection, and would also see the raising of its very own drum and bugle corps
. The Marines would see themselves in action in securing the Spratly Islands
in 1971 and in combating Muslim separatist forces and a strong New People's Army in the following years as the force became the Philippine Marine Brigade with the formation of the 2nd and 3rd Marine Battalions, the Headquarters Service Group, the 1st Provisional Tactical Battalion which saw action in Mindanao against Islamic separatists, and the Marine Training Group, later the Philippine Marines Training Group.
To highlight these changes the force was, in 1976, renamed as the Philippine Marines.
As the 1980s arrived, the force expansion was accompanied by battles against both communists and armed Islamist rebels all over the country, and in 1986 even took part in the successful People Power Revolution. The latter years would also see them in action as one coup d'état
after another was launched against the Corazon Aquino administration, all ending in failure. It also saw Rodolfo Biazon becoming the first and only Marine Corps general to head the Armed Forces as Chief of Staff after a fruitful term as Superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy, the first and only Marine Corps general officer to occupy the office so far in PMA history.
The 1990s would see further expansion as the force, as part of the Philippine Navy, became the Philippine Marine Corps in 1995 as the force turned 45 years old. The early 2000s (decade) would see the Marine Corps once more facing not just communists and Islamic militants but also terrorist groups as well.
The Marines are also seen in action in the 2013 Battle of Zamboanga city
providing amphibious assault and fire-support for the Infantry forces
. During the 2017 battle of Marawi
they are also seen fighting against the Islamic state militants as their Vehicles like LAV-300s and V-150s are modified with Wooden planks to protect them against IEDs and RPGs.
On 2018, Filipino lawmakers were proposing a law to make the Marines as an independent branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but the ties with the Navy would still remain.
Defense Secretary Lorenzana has opposed this proposal.
Philippine Marines 8th Marine Battalion Landing Team, push forward after splashing ashore in an amphibious assault vehicle during an amphibious assault training exercise
The Philippine Marine Corps is organized into three maneuver brigades, a Combat Service and Support Brigade (CSSB), the Coastal Defense Regiment (CDR) and independent units such as the Marine Special Operations Group (MARSOG) and the Marine Security and Escort Group (MSEG). The three maneuver brigades provide administrative and logistical support to the units assigned to them, while the CSSB acts as a training and administrative command for the Field Artillery (FABN) and Assault Armor (AABN) battalions.
In addition, a number of Reserve Brigades are under the control of the Naval Reserve Command.
Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps- Major General
Ariel R. Caculitan (incumbent since 20 December 2020)
- 1st Marine Brigade
- 2nd Marine Brigade
- 3rd Marine Brigade
- 4th Marine Brigade
Marine Rifle Battalions
The Philippine Marine Corps has twelve regular Marine Battalions.
Three battalions are assigned to each of the three maneuver brigades and a single battalion is rotated back to the Marine headquarters for refit and retraining for at least six months up to one year before redeployment to operational areas in the southern Philippines.
Each of the twelve battalions is organized into three rifle companies and a headquarters and service company. The battalions are augmented with elements of other units, such as artillery, armored vehicles or watercraft, for specific tasks. These units, when supported with assets from the CSSB form the core of a Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT). A combat engineer unit from the Naval Combat Engineering Brigade (NCEBde) or Seabees can be attached for construction, survivability, mobility and countermobility support. Elements from the Marine Special Operations Group (MARSOG) can also be attached for reconnaissance and unconventional warfare support to make it Special Operations Capable (SOC).
A Philippine Marine Corps instructor teaches the U.S. Marines a style of Philippine Martial Arts known as Pekiti-Tirsia Kali
during a combat training exercise.
A marine UAV operator with the MAG Super Swiper II UAV, which is part of the Marine Forces Imaging & Targeting Support System (MITSS) of the Philippine Marines.
Marine Reserve Units
The 7th Marine Brigade (Reserve) was activated as a provisional unit of the Philippine Navy on October 22, 1996 pursuant to Section I General Order No. 229 ONA dated October 21, 1996 during the term of Vice Admiral Pio Carranza AFP as FOIC. PN. It was assigned to the Naval Reserve Command and placed under the operational control of the Commandant, Philippine Marine Corps.
The 7th Marine Brigade (NCR)
is the Main Active Reserve Force of the Philippine Marine Corps with 3 operational Marine Battalions Composed of active men & women from different backgrounds & experiences, that are integrated to the regular & special units of the Corps. Given the same (MOS) training that enable the 7th MBde personnel to have interoperability with the rest of the Corps. Administrative control rest on the Naval Reserve Command (NCR)
, Philippine Navy
while Operational is with the Philippine Marine Corps (MC9). (Motto: Always Faithful, Always Ready, Nickname: Shadow Warriors)
Field Artillery Battalion
The Field Artillery Battalion (FABN) is currently organized into a Headquarters and Service Company and several howitzer batteries which are attached to the maneuver brigades to support their operations. It is equipped with the M101A1 howitzer
, the OTO Melara Model 56/14 pack howitzer
and the Soltam M71A1 155 howitzer. The unit also provides a limited air-defense capability through a token number of Bofors 40 mm L/60 guns
, Oerlikon 20mm guns
and M2 Browning guns, either in truck-mounted or towed configuration.
Assault Armor Battalion
A LAV-300 vehicle of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC)
The Assault Armor Battalion (AABN) contains a Headquarters and Service Company, an Armor Maintenance Company (Armor Mnt Co), an Assault Amphibian Company (AAV Co), and a Light Armor Vehicle Company (LAV Co). It is tasked with providing the maneuver brigades with armored assets to support their operations. The unit's inventory consists of LAV-150s
. None of the LVTP-5s are currently in service but the Marines have been able to recondition four of the LVTH-6s for their use.
Marine Special Operations Group
A Philippine marine rushes up a small ditch while a U.S. Marine provides communication during the Balikatan Exercise
The Marine Special Operations Group, formerly the Marine Force Recon Battalion, was first activated on August 19, 1972
The Force Recon Battalion (FRBn) is organized into a Headquarters, Service and Training Company and four Recon Companies, numbered 61st, 62nd, 63rd, and 64th. Each of these companies is attached to a Marine Brigade to serve as quick maneuvering force. It specialises in sea, air and land operations, like its counterpart in the Naval Special Operations Group
of the Philippine Navy, ranging from reconnaissance, close combat, demolition, intelligence and underwater operations in support to the overall naval
operations.(Swift Silent Deadly)
Marine Security and Escort Group
The Marine Security and Escort Group (MSEG) is responsible for security on naval facilities, vital government installations and protection of VIPs. The unit also fills most of the PMC's ceremonial duties, and mounts the honor guard at the Rizal Monument
in Rizal Park
Marine Drum and Bugle Team
Balikatan 2019 - Marines participate in Combined-Arms Live Fire at CERAB
The Marine Drum and Bugle Team
(MDBT) is the prime musical unit of the Philippine Marine Corps and the only Drum and Bugle Corps in the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines that provides marching band and musical services in support of the ceremonial and morale activities of the Corps. This is patterned along the lines of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps
and is stationed at Marine Barracks R. Brown in Makati.
Marine Scout Snipers
The Marine Scout Snipers (MSS) is the very first unit in the Armed Forces of the Philippines dedicated exclusively to sniping and marksmanship. The Scout Snipers are notable for being able to effectively hit and neutralize targets at 800 metres (2,600 ft) using only 7.62 mm rounds.
The Marine Scout Snipers are renowned for the development and manufacture of their own weapon, the Colt M16A1
based Marine Scout Sniper Rifle
Philippine Marine Corps Marine Silent Drill Platoon
Also headquartered in Makati, this is the premier military drill team of the Corps and one of 4 such units in the AFP, patterned after the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon
. Like its US counterpart it does a unique silent precision exhibition drill
using the M1 Garand
rifles with fixed bayonets
demonstrating the Corps's professionalism and discipline in all events where it is a part of.
Coastal Defense Regiment
The Coastal Defense Regiment is a newly formed unit of the Philippine Marine Corps, founded on August 7, 2020. The unit is part of the Philippine Navy’s Defense Capability Program, and also serves as a part of thr Philippine Navy's Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy, which aims to improve and increase sea control capabilities based on anti-access and area denial operations, while maintaining overall territorial integrity, asserting the country's sovereignty in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf, and protect Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs). The unit also plans to acquire Shore Based Anti Ship Missile Systems, and has expressed plans to acquire the BrahMos
Missile System, in order to increase the units capabilities on defending coastlines, deterring enemy littoral ships and amphibious forces, and support overall naval operations and littoral capabilities . The unit is expected to be fully functional within 2026.
A display of Philippine Navy and Philippine Marine Corps individual weapons during ADAS 2014
Anti-tank and Assault Weapons
Night Vision Equipment
Unmanned Aerial Systems
- The Philippine Marines has a joint purchase with the Philippine Army for around 44,080 new body armor (Force Protection Equipment), composed of basic vest, plate inserts and soft-ballistic panel and weighing between 5.8 kilograms to 6.8 kg.
- A joint project between the Philippine Marines and the Philippine Army is the procurement of around 50,000 new rifles based on M16/M4/M4A1/AR-15 platform, and 5,500 close combat optics. The PMC will get a fraction of the rifles and optics. The assault rifle acquisition project was awarded to Remington Defense for their Remington R4 carbine.
- A joint project between the Philippine Marines and Philippine Army for the acquisition of 12 units of 155 mm towed howitzer and 280 rounds of 155 mm howitzer HE ammunition.
- In January 2015, the Philippine Navy confirmed that the Marines will acquire an undisclosed number of M40 sniper rifles to replace their M14 rifle variants for marksmen to observe and engage targets at longer ranges.
- The PMC also laid plans to acquire the PJ-10 BrahMos Missile System.
The Philippine Marines share the traditions of both the US and Spanish marine units especially in the uniform and rank system. But the Corps has its own traditions as well.
Official traditions and customs
Core Values and Motto
Karangalan, Katungkulan, Kabayanihan (Honor, Duty, Valor) are not just the Marine Corps motto but also the main Core Values of the Philippine Marines of today, emphasizing the kind of values that service personnel of the PMC will always live on everyday.
The seal incorporates the sun with its eight rays from the Flag of the Philippines
, the anchor symbolizing the naval heritage and bond of the Corps as it is a part of the Philippine Navy, the closed loop rope (different from the rope in the USMC arms) symbolizing the links of Marines to one another and to show that a Philippine Marine once will be a Philippine Marine always, and the scroll showing the Marine Corps motto and Core Values: Karangalan, Katungkulan, Kabayanihan
(Honor, Duty, Valor
). As with the USMC, blue represents the naval heritage while the official Marine Corps colors
of scarlet and gold are also present, forming the base of Marine Corps guidons, and all three form the basis for the battle color as opposed to the latter two which is the USMC color basis.
Battle Color of the Philippine Marine Corps
The battle color, maintained by Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila, is in navy blue with two golden scrolls, one indicating the name of the corps at the top and the other, surrounding the anchor and the sun, indicating the Marine Corps motto and core values, all in red lettering. The battle color incorporates both the anchor and the sun with eight rays from the seal, but also includes the three stars of the national flag symbolizing the Philippines's three major island groups above the anchor. The color is similar to the one used by the USMC during the First World War.
The BRP Sierra Madre
The Sierra Madre BRP is a Philippine Navy
vessel that was intentionally beached off the shoal of Ayungin (also known as the Second Thomas Shoal) in 1999. It has since been occupied by a dozen Filipino Marines, all of whom take turns the 5 months in order to assert the rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Philippines on the island against the Chinese demands. The history of the building and its occupants was put on the spotlight on March 29, 2014, when journalists were able to take pictures of the Chinese Coast Guard attempting to block a Philippine civilian ship bringing supplies to the Sierra Madre Marines.
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International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (2012). The Military Balance 2012
. London: IISS. ISSN 0459-7222
Last edited on 29 April 2021, at 10:04
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