News: US, Singapore armies strengthen Pacific ties
Story by Sgt. Ashley Curtis
PASIR LABA CAMP, Singapore - Members of both forces continued a 32-year tradition Monday with the opening of the annual two-week wartime simulation exercise “Tiger Balm” at Pasir Laba Camp, Singapore.
“We value the U.S. military’s presence here,” said Singapore Army Col. Chiang, commander of the 9th Infantry Divisions (Singapore). “This strong bond that we have forged is what sets us apart from many other cooperating organizations.”
Brig. Gen. Bruce Oliveira, Hawaii Army National Guard commander, knows the importance of exercises like Tiger Balm for the future of stability in the region.
“Early last year the United States announced a new defense strategy; the cornerstone of this strategy is a refocus on the Pacific,” he said. “Over the last three decades, Tiger Balm has become the gold standard of military partnership in Asia Pacific.”
Commanders from the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, 7th Infantry Division of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., the 23rd Singapore Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division (Singapore) and service members representing the Hawaii National Guard are all contributing Soldiers to the U.S. Army Pacific-sponsored exercise.
The exercise aims to continue bolstering the long-standing relationship between the U.S. Army and Singapore Armed Forces, as well as give the forces an opportunity to share tactics and learn from one another’s experiences.
The countries’ forces have been taking part in USARPAC’s exercise for the better part of Singapore’s history. Tiger Balm is also the longest-running bilateral exercise in the Pacific.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn [tactics] from each army,” said Master Sgt. David Perez, member of the Hawaii Army National Guard and higher command operation command sergeant major for the exercise. Perez is a 4th-year Tiger Balm veteran.
Oliveira said, “This exercise not only represents continued growth of the military capability but serves as a shining example of the enduring relationship between the United States and Singapore.”