The US and Malaysian Armed Forces have jointly conducted Exercise Tiger Strike 16 in Lahad Datu, Malaysia, to increase combat readiness and conduct amphibious operations.

Officially known as Malaysia-United States Amphibious Exercise (MALFEX), Tiger Strike 16 is a bilateral training exercise led by Malaysia to enhance interoperability, tactical proficiencies, and military-to-military partnership between participating forces.

A total of 300 sailors from the 7th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment; and 300 US marines and sailors from the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in the drill.

"Tiger Strike was an opportunity for US marines and sailors to interact with soldiers from the Malaysian Armed Forces."

11th MEU commanding officer colonel Clay Tipton said: "Tiger Strike was an opportunity for US marines and sailors to interact with soldiers from the Malaysian Armed Forces and share best training practises across a wide variety of military skills.

"These bilateral exercises allow our militaries to increase combat readiness and enhance coordination and communication between forces, which are important steps to maintaining regional security and stability."

During the exercise, members of USS Makin Island and the 11th MEU medical departments, along with the embarked Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5 personnel conducted facility tours and familiarisation events aboard the vessel, while the US and Malaysian medical personnel undertaking a bilateral medical civil affairs project at a local clinic near Lahad Datu.

FST 5 officer-in-charge captain John Crabill said: "The embarked team of medical professionals and Makin Island's full medical suite allowed US and Malaysian forces to exchange best practices and lessons learned about at-sea medical operations, including casualty reception, combat trauma care, and operational stress."

The 11th MEU, along with their counterparts of the 7th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment conducted operational planning evolutions.

While training ashore, the exercise focused on jungle survival, non-lethal weapons, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Programme, helicopter loading and off-loading drills, landing zone security and control, and combat service support.

Image: Representatives of US and Malaysian navies discuss during Exercise Tiger Strike 2016. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Devin M. Langer/Released.