Speech by Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How at the Peace Vanguard 20th Anniversary Parade at Silverbell Army Heliport Arizona USA on 26 Apr 2023

Speech by Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How at the Peace Vanguard 20th Anniversary Parade at Silverbell Army Heliport Arizona USA on 26 Apr 2023

Good afternoon

Mayor Joe Winfield,

Chief of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, MG Kelvin Khong,

The Adjutant General, Major General Kerry L. Muehlenbeck,

Deputy Secretary for Administration, Ministry of Defence, Mrs Elaine Ng,

Distinguished guests,



It gives me great pleasure to congratulate each of you on this remarkable milestone. Today, the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) Peace Vanguard Detachment celebrates its 20th anniversary after its official inauguration in April 2003 by then Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Tony Tan. Two decades on, Peace Vanguard continues to be a testament to the close and strategic partnership between Singapore and the United States, and it's my honour to join you today to commemorate this milestone.

Reaffirm Strong Relations with the US

Yesterday at the Peace Carvin II Detachment, I spoke about the importance of our relationship and I think it bear reaffirming here today – Singapore and the US share a strong and mutually beneficial bilateral defence relationship, which goes back a long way. Singapore views the US' presence in the Asia Pacific as important for regional peace and stability and we welcome it. In that spirit, we are happy to render support to US military assets using our bases in Singapore under the ambit of the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This included thousands of port calls, stopovers, as well as the rotational deployment of US Littoral Combat Ships and Poseidon P-8 Aircraft. Singapore has also participated in various US-led international operations, such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf of Aden. Ours is an enduring and active partnership.

Yesterday, we celebrated, at Luke Air Force Base, 30 years of Peace Carvin II's. Today, we are celebrating the 20th year since Peace Vanguard Detachment was inaugurated. Peace Vanguard was established through a Long Term Stationing and Cooperative Agreement with the US Government to quickly stand up our advanced Attack Helicopter capability. To maximise the AH-64D's advanced sensor and weapon capabilities, our crew needed a large expanse of airspace and access to high-end training. We found all of these here in Arizona through the partnership with the highly dedicated men and women of the Arizona Army National Guard. Our aircrew here have been able to sharpen their competencies and hone new skills by partaking in complex exercises simulating air-land battles in "contested and degraded" environments, and carrying out live firing exercises in advanced ranges in the US. More importantly, as iron sharpens iron, we are also grateful for the opportunity to benchmark our operational and maintenance capabilities with a steadfast and highly professional partner.

Peace Vanguard Achievements

Since its inauguration in 2003, Peace Vanguard has achieved many remarkable milestones. It has trained more than 120 highly competent apache helicopter pilots as well as scores of Air Force Engineers in the employment and maintenance of this highly sophisticated aircraft. With nearly 40,000 flight hours under its belt and regular access to the highly advanced Orchard Combat Training Center (OCTC) range complex in Boise, Idaho, the detachment has continually pushed operational boundaries in unleashing precise and responsive firepower while innovating to develop new tactics against a growing range of surface and air threats. Over the years, Peace Vanguard has also showcased its operational excellence when it participated in many high-end, realistic training exercises, such as Exercise Green Flag East with the US Army Special Forces, Exercise Valiant Mark with the US Marine Corps, and the multilateral Exercise Red Flag Rescue, to name a few. Such opportunities are invaluable for maintaining a high level of collaboration, interoperability and readiness.

Today, our Air Force has a highly professional and well-trained attack helicopter fleet built upon the invaluable experience from Peace Vanguard. Indeed, the training opportunities here have allowed us to overcome our local that is Singapore's, training space constraints, and maintain a high level of combat and operational readiness.

Thank the US and Our people

Of course, achieving this milestone would not have been possible without the support and commitment of many of you here today. Allow me to extend my appreciation to the US Government, the US Army and the Arizona Army National Guard for being a very generous and gracious host to our people here. To the men and women of US Army Flight Training Detachment, your steadfast support has ensured the continued success of Peace Vanguard Detachment.

To Mayor Joe Winfield and the local communities, thank you for your generosity and kind hospitality in making our Singaporeans here feel welcome and at home. Our detachment personnel and their families over these 20 years have formed countless friendships and fond memories.

To our servicemen and women at Peace Vanguard, thank you for your hard work, professionalism, and commitment to the detachment. You are at the heart of our continued mission success here in Arizona and your dedication to excellence serves as a good example and encouragement to the rest of the RSAF.

To the families of our servicemen and women, thank you for your sacrifices and tremendous support. You provided the stability for your loved ones to focus on contributing to the detachment and ensuring the defence of our nation.

It now gives me great pleasure to wish the Peace Vanguard Detachment a very happy 20th Anniversary. May you continue Forging Ahead to advance our Air Force's attack helicopter development and capability.

Happy Birthday. Thank you.

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