Focusing on the fundamentalsThis year's Exercise Wallaby training may have been slowed down by a fire ban, but the troops are making the best of the situation.
// Story Benita Teo / Photos Chai Sian Liang
// In Rockhampton, Australia
This year's Exercise Wallaby (XWB) may appear to be a quiet affair without the familiar rattle of weapons firing at targets. Due to the weather conditions and fire risk, a fire ban was imposed until 25 Oct by the Australian government here at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in Rockhampton, Australia, where the exercise is held. In accordance with the ban, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has stopped all live-firing training until further notice.
However, the fire ban has dampened neither the spirits nor the training tempo of the troops, who had prepared for months to participate in this annual exercise. Find out how they have been working on their soldier fundamentals and keeping their fighting spirit high at XWB 2019.
Always at the ready
Ahead of their Armour Component Training, the armoured infantry troopers of the 41st Battalion Singapore Armoured Regiment (41 SAR) carry out comprehensive checks on their vehicles and equipment, and also undergo drills to refresh their skills.
Bringing it all together
Months of preparatory training culminate in the Armour Compoment Training at SWBTA. Ahead of XWB, troopers underwent simulator training on the Armour Gunnery and Manoeuvre Simulator to get to know the terrain better. They also attended heat acclimatisation training to ready themselves for Rockhampton's hot and dry weather.
Giving our troops a lift
XWB also provides the opportunity for different services to train together. In the second frame of the exercise, the Singapore Army and Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is carrying out joint missions such as troop lifts and resupplies from the air.
Taking care of our troops
They're always the first ones to come into theatre and the last ones to leave. They make sure that the troops have a safe and comfortable place to call home, and have the food and rest they need for their training. Meet some of the people from the Forward Support Group (FSG) who make all this happen.
2nd Warrant Officer (2WO) Chan Chun Fai, 55
FSG Supply Overall In-Charge for Logistics and Stores
This is 2WO Chan's third time at XWB. However, it's his very first as part of the FSG, taking care of the soldiers' welfare. He oversees the cookhouse, making sure that the menu suits the training needs of troops.
"I've been here as part of the exercise troops before, so I know what kind of food they need after a long training (session). For instance, when they came back from a four-day outfield training, I requested for noodles and soup for their recovery and to soothe their stomachs. It's my way of giving back for the times the FSG took care of me when I was here."
3rd Sergeant (3SG) Rishabh Gurg, 20
FSG Operations Specialist
NSF 3SG Rishabh has been at Camp Growl since 20 Sep. This is his first time away from home for such a long period of time, but is happy that he is able to support he soldiers at Camp Growl. His most memorable experience was helping to set up safari beds for the second frame troopers, immediately after the first frame soldiers had left. "We had a very short time frame, but I'm glad to be able to provide them with a comfortable place to rest after their training."
Major (MAJ) Lau Wei Yong, 36
MAJ Lau only arrived at Camp Growl on 10 Oct, some time into the exercise. But that's because he just became a dad for the third time – his daughter was born just a month ago! Being away from his family at this time has not been easy, but his understanding wife knows that he has been working hard on providing support to the XWB soldiers since the beginning of the year, and stood behind his decision to continue with his deployment.
"My personal philosophy is that I want to be here to understand the ground, so that I can address the issues that the troops have and support them in training safely and efficiently. My biggest satisfaction is being able to integrate the different functional groups in FSG to give the training troops our fullest support – when I see the guys walking around with a smile, I'm happy."