Amidst the swirling gusts of dust and under the harsh Australian sun, soldiers of the 3rd Singapore Division (3 Div) stood proudly as Commander 3 Div BG Tan Yih San announced the opening of the Div HQ Command Post Exercise (CPX) on 23 November. BG Tan visited the various components of 3 Div at their respective campgrounds and presented the exercise patches to the unit commanders, symbolically marking the opening of Exercise Wallaby 06. The 3 Div CPX will feature an unprecedented number of shooters, sensors, aircraft and command posts all connected and working closely together.
Our soldiers will be in the field for a period of three weeks as they prepare for three major live-firings that will infuse the concept of networking between the different air and land platforms, as well as the soldiers on the ground. Such intense and realistic training, as BG Tan puts it, will surely "bring the fighting capabilities of the SAF to the next level."
In his opening address, BG Tan urged his men to remember three key messages, "The first message is that everyone must play your part. Play your role well so you can collectively function as a good battle group. The second is that we are able to do all these here because of our good Australian hosts. They have been very kind to let us train here in Shoalwater Bay for the past 22 years. It is important for us to do our job well and be good guests in the process. The third message is Operational Safety. The conditions out here in Australia are harsh - the days are hot and the nights are cold, and you will be out in the field for quite some time. There will be times that you are tired and may lose your concentration. It is up to the people around to help and mutually support each other so that the whole group will be able to succeed in these trying conditions."
One of the participating units is 427th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (427 SAR). For these NSmen, this is their second exercise in Australia, and first since becoming NSmen six years ago. LTA Lim Wei-en, a Platoon Commander of 427 SAR, said, "Coming here as NSmen, we are now older than we were before. That can be good, for we are all more levelheaded and mature. But it also means the climate conditions are now harsher for us. This time, we also have a three-week field camp, which is definitely challenging. We now also get to work with new equipment and platforms, such as the Air Defence Artillery, that we haven't had much experience with and are looking forward to using them." LCP (NS) Chong Boon Wee, also from 427 SAR, added, "The exercise this time around is much larger in scale than the one we took part in all those years ago and we look forward to this. There are bound to be challenges, but the sense of achievement when things work out are worth it. Also, meeting up with my old friends in the unit are great. As a soldier, I hope to use this exercise as a refresher and also to see what other units are like, due to the integrated nature of this exercise."