It's the 25th year of Exercise Airguard (XAG), but the friendships our airmen forged go beyond that! Since the first XAG in 1994, our airmen have worked with the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF), and honed air defence proficiencies together. Through this, they also forged strong friendships!
MAJ Benson Hew and 2WO Jack Lee were two airmen who kept in touch with their Bruneian friends through XAG. Back when they were course instructors in the Air Force Training Command, 2WO Jack taught various trainees to operate the Mistral system. That was how he became friends with SSG Rosmalie and SSG Kairul, who were in Singapore to attend the course.
"Besides being an instructor, I was also their liaison officer to help them adapt to the lifestyle in Singapore while they were here. After school, we would go out for local food, and visit places such as the Singapore Zoo and Little India. I also did the Warrant Officer Exchange Programme in Brunei and got to meet more friends," recalled 2WO Jack.
Thinking back about their experiences working together and the times they shared, SSG Rosmalie also shared that he participated in XAG 14 in Brunei together with 2WO Jack and SSG Kairul. "Jack is a good guy, he always teaches us and helps us. During XAG, we exchanged our experiences on the weapon and we will go out after the work. We are happy to participate in the exercise."
MAJ Benson was the Exercise Planning Officer for his unit in 2010, and attended XAG that year in Brunei. He worked with MAJ Ajijol and shared, "To meet our Bruneian friends who operate the same system as us, we feel a sense of closeness and affiliation. You probably can't find another place where you can train with your foreign counterparts on the same weapon system. The terrain there was new for us to train in, and we really enjoyed ourselves to share our knowledge and learn from each other."
Then freshly graduated from his cadet course in Brunei, MAJ Ajijol shared that it was his first time participating in XAG. "I find it tough because I was quite new at that time, and I don't know the different protocols. But I learnt something new, and it was good to work with Benson. It was a really good experience to work with the Singaporeans and we get to share knowledge."
Though the opportunities for the two to keep in contact was little after returning to Singapore, they met again at XAG 19 and managed to catch up! Here's to many more years of friendship between the RSAF and the RBAirF!