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Arsenal soldiers to deploy to the Philippines

The group of eight will deploy March 1st.

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — Eight soldiers from the Rock Island Arsenal are being deployed to the Philippines on March 1st. Their goal is to strengthen relations overseas. With 107 years of military experience between themselves, they are more than ready for the task. 

"We are part of a unit called the SFAB, which stands for the security forces advisory brigade. And our mission is to advise and assist partner nations in some of the ways that the American military operates," MAJ John Christel said. He is the team leader of the group. 

Sergeant Diana Klaus is the medical advisor. She will be training closely with the Filipino army on combat medicine, combat casualty care and tactical combat casualty care. She has been deployed overseas before, including to Afghanistan. 

"I am very excited about this mission. I think it's very important for us to be working with host nation partners and foreign forces," Klaus said.

Klaus said that the Filipino army has been actively fighting an Islamic extremist insurgency for many years, and that the group's goal is to help them fight that insurgency. The soldiers went through combat training courses in Fort Benning, Georgia to prepare. 

"We focus heavily on integrating with foreigners being aware of some of their cultural issues. But then how to work with them together so they can learn some of our what we would call TTPs: tactics, techniques and procedures." MAJ Christel said. 

Sergeant Diana tells us there is already a team of soldiers in the Philippines, and that this group will take over for them for six months, with many more groups to follow. Her personal goals are to teach the Filipino army combat medicine and help aid against human trafficking.

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