SAF, US Marine Corps strengthen ties at joint exercise

Actions
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/a78b33cb-bbd2-400d-bccc-dea86a33eeff/09dec22_news2_thumbnail.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-a78b33cb-bbd2-400d-bccc-dea86a33eeff-ojXYhCm /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/a78b33cb-bbd2-400d-bccc-dea86a33eeff/09dec22_news2_thumbnail.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-a78b33cb-bbd2-400d-bccc-dea86a33eeff-ojXYhCm /web/portal/pioneer/article/feature-article-detail/ops-and-training/2022-Q4/09dec22_news2
09dec22_news2 /web/portal/pioneer/article/feature-article-detail/ops-and-training/2022-Q4/09dec22_news2
09 Dec 2022 | OPS & TRAINING

SAF, US Marine Corps strengthen ties at joint exercise

Exercise Valiant Mark successfully concluded today on 9 December.

Report by Chia Chong Jin // Photos by Kenneth Lin & Lionel Lee

SAF and USMC troops disembarking from an RSAF CH-47 Chinook helicopter before a jungle trek, in preparation for a deliberate assault at the MUTF.
English 华文

Over the past two weeks, some 850 soldiers from the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade, 3rd Battalion Singapore Guards (3 GDS) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Marine Rotational Force Southeast Asia, I Marine Expeditionary Force trained alongside each other in a series of missions.

The exercise, which was held in Singapore from 28 Nov to 9 Dec, culminated in a battalion heli-borne mission, involving joint planning and a deliberate assault by troops at Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF). The troops also conducted urban operations training, live firing and jungle training together during the 12-day exercise.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) supported the exercise with two AH-64D Apache attack helicopters and three CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

A learning experience

Among those who worked closely with the USMC during the acclimatisation and component training period was 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Timothy Tang, a Platoon Commander from 3 GDS.

"The exercise has been fulfilling, as we have been able to participate in many new activities. For example – jungle survival training – this is something that I believe most of our soldiers, as well as the USMC soldiers, have not experienced before.," said the Full-time National Serviceman (NSF).

"We were also exposed to how the USMC would assault urban objectives. Even though we were similar in the way we capture urban terrain, there were multiple components within an assault that we can learn from the USMC."

SAF and USMC soldiers moving to clear a room in the MUTF.

Corporal First Class (CFC) Kisuksharan Devakumar, Platoon Runner, 3GDS, shared similar sentiments. "The exercise has been enriching and it has broadened my horizons. Working with the USMC allowed us to experience different equipment and training styles. It has proved to be a valuable experience for all of us."

When asked about the key lessons he has learnt, the NSF said: "It was an eye-opening experience… to see our US counterparts perform similar drills, with a couple of additional tweaks, it showed us that there are many ways to approach any one scenario."

"Not many people would have the opportunity to participate in a foreign exchange between two militaries, so I am thankful to be able to participate in this exercise."

Bring the heat on

For the US Marines, acclimatising to Singapore’s hot and humid weather conditions proved to be one of the biggest challenges they encountered during the exercise.

"Upon arriving, we found that the weather was at a higher temperature and higher humidity than what we are accustomed to", said First Lieutenant (1stLT) Timothy Runstandler, Kilo Company, Platoon Commander, USMC.

Training alongside the SAF felt natural for 1stLT Runstandler and his men, as there was a safe environment where both forces could learn from each other.

"It was a challenge that we enjoyed adapting to. Working with our Singaporean partners, we learnt some tips and tricks of the trade of how to deal with this climate and temperature, and we quickly assimilated to the climate."

1stLT Runstandler and his men worked hand-in-hand with SAF soldiers from 3 Gds during this exercise. "Training alongside the SAF felt natural, as we understand how to fight war the same way – we have similar philosophies.

"The soldiers just naturally gelled together, and they were able to cooperate well right from the get-go."

Corporal (CPL) Mason Flint, Kilo Company, Squad Leader, acknowledged these views. He said: "It was really good to experience this exercise with an army that has the same warrior ethos as us, which has the same mindset and same tactics as we do, even though we have different Standard Operating Procedures."

CPL Flint is glad for the opportunity to train alongside SAF personnel and exchange military knowledge with one another.

He added: "It doesn’t matter who we are partnered with, what country we are in or what climate we operate in; what is most important is the partnership between two nations.

"At the end of the day, we can’t fight alone. It doesn’t matter how small we start that partnership, as long as we continue to grow from it, then we will all better ourselves."

CPL Cynthia Perez, an Intelligence Specialist from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, also shared the same sentiments when cooperating with her Singaporean counterparts. She said: "The SAF soldiers were very proficient in terms of their understanding of intelligence operations.

"Their SOPs were similar to ours, and with that, we were able to flow very well and it was seamless. Additionally, we exchanged inputs to ensure that in future operations, it would be even better than this time round."

CPL Perez hopes to be able to impart her knowledge gained from this exercise to her junior marines back in the US.

Asked about her key takeaways from this year’s Exercise Valiant Mark, she said: "Seeing how well the Singaporean soldiers were able to communicate down to the tactical level and they were able to overcome issues (quickly) – that was something that we could learn a lot from.

"With our experience here, we will be able to better navigate and work with other countries as well."

Launched in 1991, Exercise Valiant Mark underscores the excellent and long-standing defence relations between both armed forces. Apart from such bilateral exercises, The Singapore and US military also interact regularly through multilateral exercises, high-level visits, as well as professional exchanges and attendance of each other's professional courses.

Suggested Reading
SAF's biggest overseas exercise is back Down Under
SAF's biggest overseas exercise is back Down Under
OPS & TRAINING
09-Oct-23

Four times the size of Singapore – that's the vast space the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) works with at Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in Queensland, Australia, where Exercise Wallaby is currently underway.

From mortars to mentor Feature
From mortars to mentor
PEOPLE
30-Aug-23

2SG Zulqarnain has found his second calling as a BMTC instructor, imparting the values of a guardsman to new generations of recruits.

Longest-Running SG-US Exercise Returns to S'pore After 2 Years
Longest-Running SG-US Exercise Returns to S'pore After 2 Years
OPS & TRAINING
17-Jun-22

The quiet of the morning is shattered by the explosion of machine guns and assault rifles. The tall grasses part as infantry soldiers from the Unites States (US) Army, who had been lying in wait, bash through the thick vegetation.

Guardsman, Father, Role Model
Cover story
Guardsman, Father, Role Model
PEOPLE
14-Jun-22

This Father's Day, PIONEER finds out how a former Guards Formation Sergeant Major indirectly inspired his son to sign on, and how he runs a strict regime both in camp and at home.

Making a Difference to the Lives of His Soldiers
Cover story
Making a Difference to the Lives of His Soldiers
PEOPLE
25-Mar-22

This Guards officer helps his soldiers to become the best version of themselves.

New helicopters & robust air defence capabilities strengthen RSAF's edge Feature
New helicopters & robust air defence capabilities strengthen RSAF's edge
OPS & TRAINING
15-Dec-21

The Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operations will be getting a power lift with the addition of two new helicopters.

SAF tackles terrorists in homeland security drill
Cover story
SAF tackles terrorists in homeland security drill
OPS & TRAINING
03-Aug-21

On 2 Aug, Special Operations Task Force troopers stormed into the F1 Pit Building to rescue civilian hostages as part of a counter-terrorism exercise. Watch what went down that evening!

3 Gds ready to strike even amid COVID-19
Cover story
3 Gds ready to strike even amid COVID-19
OPS & TRAINING
19-Oct-20

Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, soldiers from 3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards (3 Gds) proved their high combat readiness in their ATEC evaluation.

What a Search & Rescue doctor carries on the job Feature
What a Search & Rescue doctor carries on the job
TECHNOLOGY
18-Sep-20

Check out the tools of the trade for emergency treatments up in the air.