Heliborne mission for S'pore, US troops

A United States Marine Corps (USMC) soldier trying the Section Assault Weapon as soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces and USMC look on. This year's annual bilateral exercise is the 23rd time Exercise Valiant Mark is being held, and it will end ne
A United States Marine Corps (USMC) soldier trying the Section Assault Weapon as soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces and USMC look on. This year's annual bilateral exercise is the 23rd time Exercise Valiant Mark is being held, and it will end next Monday. Last year's exercise took place in August in California and involved more than 1,000 soldiers.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

About 900 soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the United States Marine Corps are taking part in an annual bilateral exercise held in Singapore that ends next Monday.

Exercise Valiant Mark, which started on April 11, will culminate in a battalion heliborne mission today, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) yesterday.

This will entail joint planning and a deliberate assault by the troops.

A US embassy statement on Monday said the exercise was designed to "enhance inter-operability, build defence capability and strengthen military-to-military relationships" between the US Marine Corps and SAF.

Colonel Xu Youfeng, commander of the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade, and Colonel Kyle B. Ellison, commander of the 7th Marine Regiment of the US Marine Corps, co-officiated at the opening ceremony at Bedok Camp on April 15.

Over the past two weeks, both sides took part in live-firing, jungle training and urban operations training as part of the exercise.

Participating units were the SAF's 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade, 1st Battalion Singapore Guards, 24th Battalion Singapore Artillery and the Army Deployment Force, as well as the US Marine Corps' 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) deployed four AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, two CH-47SD Chinook helicopters and two AS332 Super Puma helicopters to support the exercise.

Mindef said the exercise, launched in 1991, "underscores the excellent and longstanding bilateral defence relations between Singapore and the US".

This year's exercise is the 23rd time it is being held. Last year's exercise took place in August in California and involved more than 1,000 soldiers.

The two militaries interact regularly through numerous bilateral and multilateral exercises, high-level visits, professional exchanges as well as the cross-attendance of courses and seminars.

Mindef said these exchanges have enhanced professionalism, strengthened inter-operability, and forged strong rapport and camaraderie among soldiers from both sides.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Heliborne mission for S'pore, US troops'. Print Edition | Subscribe