FORT SILL, Okla. (Nov. 3, 2016) — Over the past month the Lawton-Fort Sill community may have heard an increase in the amount of helicopters and field artillery as 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery and the 75th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB) trained alongside the Singapore armed forces during Operation Daring Warrior.
Over 300 Singaporean soldiers and airmen participated alongside U.S. active-duty and National Guard Soldiers on equipment ranging from AH-64 Apache Helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
“The purpose of the exercise is to give the Singaporeans the opportunity to do a combined arms live fire exercise here with Apache helicopters and HIMARS,” said Lt. Col. Peter Sittenauer, 1-14th FA Battalion commander. “The combined live fire also has a much greater purpose, which is to strengthen the ties between our two nations and also give our two great units an ability to train.”
When asked what was learned from the training event, Sittenauer said that “although we are from two different nations, the quality of the Soldiers that we have are extremely strong, and that we are further strengthening the partnership between our two nations. The camaraderie that we share together is even stronger and it is extremely enjoyable to be able to train with the Singaporeans.”
The combined training exercise allows for armies to continue a strategic and operational partnership while working together with the Singaporean Army. This training is necessary to better understand and efficiently employ our capabilities together, said Col. Nathan Cook, 75th FAB commander.
Although he had never worked with the Singaporean army before Daring Warrior, Staff Sgt. Chad Baugaus, A Battery, 1-14th FA Battalion platoon sergeant, said that “the training has been a learning opportunity for myself and we have provided the Singaporeans with assets that they can utilize to train with because they are coming from very far away and couldn’t bring some of their own equipment.”
“All in all it’s been a great experience and a great learning effort on both of our parts with the Singapore army and the United States Army,” said Baugaus.
With a population of just under 6 million people and an area covering only around 275 square miles (roughly the size of El Paso, Texas) the Singaporean army does not have access to the amount of land required to fully train on live fire capabilities.
Their partnership with the 75th FAB allows them the opportunity to spend one month out of the year living and training on Fort Sill, to become proficient on all the tasks necessary to operate their equipment in the most efficient and effective manner.
Even though this training event occurs every year, even numbered years integrate the Singaporean Air Force Apache helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Surveillance systems.
This event in particular allows both nations to showcase their capabilities and build upon their interoperability as international partners.
Planning for the Operation Daring Warrior exercise for the Singapore army begins approximately one year prior to the start of the actual training event due to the number of people and pieces of equipment that needs to be shipped to Fort Sill for a successful event, said Col. Michael Ma, the Singaporean army chief artillery officer.
According to Ma, feedback from the Singaporean army soldiers has been extremely positive throughout the duration of the exercise, from the ability to conduct a live fire and also from the personal interactions with their Fort Sill counterparts.
The monthlong training event ended with a three-day live fire event, Oct. 26-28, that showcased the capabilities of the HIMARS.
Following the live fire exercise, the Singaporean and American soldiers celebrated the successful training event with a dinner at the Fort Sill Patriot Club on Oct. 30.
Soldiers from the two nations had the chance to come together in a different environment and enjoy their last night here with an event to further boost morale and camaraderie between these two great armies.