FORT SILL, Okla –
Throughout the past two weeks, Fort Sill has been alive with the sounds of helicopters and artillery as battalions from the 214th Fires Brigade and 75th Field Artillery Brigade hosted the Singapore armed forces, during Operation Daring Warrior.
Over 300 Singaporean soldiers and airmen trained side-by-side with American active-duty and National Guard Soldiers on equipment including AH-64 Apache helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, and the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.
The purpose of this operation is to train in realistic and live-firing environments, said Col. Lawrence Lim, Singapore army chief of artillery.
"We are appreciative for the opportunity to come to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to train our Division-Center as well as to work in partnership with our friends from the U.S. Army," said Lim.
"I think the exercise here has been very impressive," said Brig. Gen. William Turner, Field Artillery School commandant and chief of field artillery. "What we've been able to see from the Singapore armed forces is really quite impressive. They've been able to integrate air, ground components here to attack and engage various targets. It's a very complex operation. It's not easy to do."
The goal of the joint training exercise was to help enhance partnership relationships in support of the regionally aligned forces in the Asia-Pacific region, said Turner.
"Being able to work with the Singapore armed forces is really a great privilege and honor for us," he said. "So as we continue to do that, it's a great opportunity that we have at Fort Sill."
Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery and 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery, along with a Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System platoon from the Oklahoma National Guard, integrated training with the Singapore army. The joint tasking brought together various components with commandos on the ground, AH-64 Apaches in the air, as well as High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems firing to demonstrate complex training capacities and really highlighted the capabilities of the Army, said Turner.
For Lim, the compatibility between the Singaporean soldiers and U.S. Soldiers left a lasting impression.
"The professionalism that's been shown by my soldiers as well as the Soldiers from the U.S. Army, although we live in countries that are very far apart, we can come together seamlessly over a short period of time to operate together on Fort Sill; I find this very remarkable and something that we cherish, and this is only possible because of the long years of friendship," he said.
The cold weather didn't hinder training as the Singapore soldiers acclimated quickly.
"After spending three weeks out in the cold they are still high in morale, their spirits are up, and many of them saw snow for the first time," said Lim. "Initially there were some challenges, but I think the soldiers rose to the occasion and proved their mettle. Now I think they are well acclimated and they will go back to Singapore complaining it's too hot."
"The environment was a challenge for anybody out here this past week," said Lt. Col. Patrick Stich, commander of 3-13 FA. "We had temperatures down in the teens and plenty of snow. Everyone pushed hard through it and got some really good training in. Our leaders did a fantastic job preparing the Soldiers to come out and endure this weather, train hard in it and quite frankly we didn't loose any training benefit as a result of it."
Operation Daring Warrior allowed the opportunity for like-units to train on the same systems and share knowledge of those systems with foreign partners.
"As unified action partners it's a great opportunity for all of us to really learn from one another's cultures because there's an opportunity that we may work together in the future in an operational environment," said Stich. "Having like systems makes sure that we have interoperability with those systems in case we are required to employ them together some day."
Cultural differences did not hinder training. English is the official language of Singapore, and the operational systems of their equipment are designed the same. Any differences in the systems provided learning opportunities, which helped Fort Sill Soldiers and the Singaporean army achieve their common mission.
Stich is proud of the work his Soldiers did.
"We really had a great time with these guys," he said. "For a lot of the Soldiers there hasn't been a lot of opportunity to work with unified action partners and some of the young guys who haven't deployed previously, this is an opportunity to work with folks of a different culture and therefore gain some understanding. I think it helps to prepare them for deployments in the future."
Training was scheduled to continue through the end of November.