SAF and US Marine Corps take part in bilateral exercise Valiant Mark in Singapore

Soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces and United States Marine Corps (USMC) taking part in a weapons sharing session, with a USMC soldier trying the Section Assault Weapon, on April 15, 2019.
Soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces and United States Marine Corps (USMC) taking part in a weapons sharing session, with a USMC soldier trying the Section Assault Weapon, on April 15, 2019.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - 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 which ends next Monday (April 29).

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

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

A United States 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 U S 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 United States Marine Corps' 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) also 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 was 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.