DVIDS – News – A Bridge Across the Pacific: U.S. Marine from the Philippines returns home

DVIDS – News – A Bridge Across the Pacific: U.S. Marine from the Philippines returns home

BARRILLA, Philippines – Born and raised in the Philippine capital of Manila, Jonathan Dumadag will be returning home after 34 years in the uniform of an elite fighting unit, the United States Marine Corps.
Dumadag was first inspired to join the Marines by his uncle, a Philippine Marine who fought against Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels at Camp Abubakar in 2000. The impact of the region’s civil war on his upbringing prompted Dumadag to find a greater sense of purpose.
“With increasing threats around the world, we cannot just sit back and relax,” Doumadaug said. “I would rather be a warrior in the garden than a gardener on the battlefield.”
After 31 years in the Philippines, Dumadag immigrated to the United States with his cousin, where he pledged to defend the country he now calls home and opened the door to the opportunity to serve side by side with his mother country. He found the Marines to give him the sense of purpose he desired.
“I want to discover who I really am and become the best version of myself by undergoing the toughest training,” Doumadaug said. “I believe that constant pressure and friction brings out the best in me.”
Dumadawg enlisted at South Pulaski in Chicago, Illinois, exceeding the maximum age requirement for the Marine Corps. Nevertheless, after proving his physical fitness to recruiters, Dumadawg received a waiver allowing him to enlist in the Marines.
Now a Marine Corps private, he serves as a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, based in the arid desert of Twentynine Palms, Calif. Given the 1st Marine Division’s geographic focus, Dumadawug found his way back to the lush jungles of the Philippines.
Dumadawug, along with Marines from “Animal” Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, participated in the Archipelago Coastal Defense Continuum, a series of bilateral exchanges and training opportunities between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Philippine Marine Corps aimed at enhancing the Philippine Marine Corps’ coastal defense strategy and supporting the Philippine Armed Forces’ modernization efforts. At Camp Iranian, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, along with the Philippine Marine Corps, Army and National Police, conducted a variety of events including a combat firing range, close combat training, jungle survival training and jungle operations.
“We have had the experience of working with our partners. It’s great to learn how they do things while teaching them how we do things,” Doumadaug said. “It’s great to be able to exchange best practices and improve each other’s operations and work better together.”
Dumadag’s journey came full circle as he walked the same ground his uncle once fought, while also teaching and learning from his Filipino peers, hearing stories of bravery, and building lasting relationships with allies and partners as an infantryman. Humbled by the battlefield experience of his Filipino peers, Dumadag was inspired to further his professional proficiency.
During ACDC, Marines from 1/7th Battalion visited the Division Training School near Cotabato City to conduct long-range fire training with Philippine National Police, Philippine Army and Philippine Marines from 1st Marine Brigade, during which Dumadawg was reunited with his cousin, Maj. John Bravo, the current police chief of Cotabato City.
“All the officers who trained with us are his subordinates and it was an honour for him to visit despite his busy schedule,” Dumadawg said.
ACDC was not only a training opportunity for the Dumadaugs, but also an opportunity to reunite and celebrate with their families scattered across the archipelago, including Barila, Cotabato City and Manila. It also gave them a chance to speak their native language with their Filipino peers and learn how to be better warfighters through the eyes of the Philippine Marines, strengthening the bond between the two countries.
“I grew up in Manila, but my parents grew up in Negros Island, where the main tribe is Ilonggo,” Dumadaug said, “They speak a different dialect, so I was excited to come to Camp Irang and find out that many of the Philippine Marines are from my tribe.”
Additionally, Marines from “Animal” Company participated in a community exchange event at Abubakar Siddiq Elementary School as part of ACDC, providing various supplies, food, water and party games for the students. Dumadag was able to give back to the community and played a key role in the event by translating for the 1/7th Battalion adjutant to the local Filipino audience.
Dumadag embodies the connection between our two countries, not only as a Filipino but also as a U.S. Marine who crossed the International Date Line and returned home, his ambition and humility inspiring him to return home across the Pacific as a purposeful individual.
“The biggest lesson learned from this unique experience is that it is important for our military forces to continue working together. [their] “We work with our partners to increase interoperability and demonstrate to our adversaries that we stand together,” Doumadaug said. “We are stronger together.”

Data collected: May 28, 2024
Posted on: June 6, 2024 01:23
Story ID: 473192
position: PH Barilala
home town: Chicago, Illinois, USA

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