The Philippine Marine Corps, although not as formally established as the Infanteria de Marina of the Spanish Navy, Filipino naval infantrymen during the Spanish colonial period (1565-1898) fought just as well against internal and external threats to the Philippine Islands, notably Moro and Chinese pirates, and Dutch naval forces.
The infant Philippine Navy was established during the Philippine Revolution (1896–1898), when General Emilio Aguinaldo formed the Revolutionary Navy. During that time it consisted of the pinnace Magdalo and several steam launches captured from the Spanish. The Navy refitted these for war and moved troops, arms, and supplies to the provinces. The Navy played a major role during the raid against the Spanish garrison and magazine on Bacoor Bay, which was the first amphibious assault by elements of the Revolutionary Navy.
During the American colonial period (1899–1941) and the Second World War in the Pacific (1941–1945), Filipinos served with distinction in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. The first Filipino to die in the First World War was Private Tomas Claudio who was serving with the U.S. Marine Corps as part of the American Expeditionary Forces to Europe. He died in the Battle of Chateau Thierry in France on June 29, 1918. The Thomas Claudio Memorial College in Eastern Rizal, Philippines, which was founded in 1950, was named in his honor.
The Philippine Marine Corps is organised into three maneuver brigades, a Combat Service and Support Brigade (CSSB), a headquarters for a reserve brigade, and independent units such as the Force Recon Battalion
(FRBn) 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.
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The Philippine Marine Corps has eleven active Marine Battalions designated 1st to 11th. Two to four 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 Southern Philippines. These units, when supported with assets from the CSSB and the Philippine Navy form the core of a Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT).
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 both the M101A1 howitzer and the OTO Melara Model 56/14 pack howitzer. The unit also provides a limited air-defense capability through a token number of Bofors 40 mm L/60 guns.
Assault Armor Battalion
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, LAV-300s, LVTP-5s and LVTH-6s. 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 Force Reconnaissance Battalion
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 Warfare Group of the Philippine Navy, ranging from reconnaissance, close combat, demolition, intelligence and underwater operations in support to the overall naval operations.
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.
Marine Drum and Bugle Team
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 band and musical services in support of the ceremonial and morale activities of the Corps.
Marine Scout Snipers
The Marine Scout Snipers (MSS) were the 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 neutralize targets at 800 meters using only 5.56 mm rounds. The Marine Scout Snipers are also known for the development and manufacture of their own weapon, the Colt M16A1 based Marine Scout Sniper Rifle.