News: Marines, Singaporean guardsmen kick off partnered training for Valiant Mark
Story by Lance Cpl. Corey Dabney
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Fighting forces from two nations came together to unite under one common mission. Marines serving with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, are hosting the 3rd Battalion Singapore Guards for Exercise Valiant Mark, a yearly training event conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces and 1st Marine Division.
The Marines and guardsmen kicked off the exercise with an opening ceremony at the 5th Marines parade deck here, Nov. 29.
“Valiant Mark is a bilateral exercise between the United States Marine Corps and Singapore Guards that happens every year in which we train side by side and exchange tactics,” said Lt. Col. Jason Perry, the commanding officer of 2nd Bn., 5th Marines.
Marines and guardsmen will participate in several live-fire exercises, during which they will exchange ideas on fundamental infantry tactics in an effort to increase combat effectiveness.
“My goal is also to have my Marines form a close personal relationship with the guardsmen,” said Perry, a native of Flat Rock, N.C. “I think they will find that they have something in common because we are all warfighters.”
The exercise alternates every year, said Lt. Col.Fredie Tan, the battalion commanding officer of the 3rd Bn. Singapore Guards. This year the guardsmen came to Camp Pendleton, and next year the Marines will go to Singapore to train with their Pacific allies.
“The United States Marine Corps and the Singapore Guards have been good friends for over a decade,” Tan said. “We are looking forward to training with one of the best fighting forces in the world.”
The Marines and guardsmen will conduct partnered platoon and company sized attacks and perform helicopter-borne operations over the course of the exercise.
The battalion’s Marines recently returned from a combat deployment in Helmond Province, Afghanistan, and has a wealth of experience to share with the guardsmen. Captain Mengyean Ong, an infantry platoon commander serving with the 3rd Bn., Singapore Guards, said she’s enthusiastic about the great opportunity.
“Marines are capable and experienced warriors,” said Ong, a 24 year-old native of Singapore. “I am excited to be able to train with them and hear about their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The training is a rare opportunity to work with the military of another nation and to learn from one another, Perry said.
“I want everyone to compete and train hard. Furthermore, I want to see everyone building strong personal bonds with each other, as I have with Lt. Col Tan,” Perry said.
Valiant Mark is being conducted in conjunction with Steel Knight, an annual exercise designed to train 1st Marine Division Marines for deployment as the ground combat element of a Marine air-ground task force. The focus of the exercise is to ensure that 1st Marine Division is fully prepared to deploy as an expeditionary force across the range of military operations and is capable of responding to any crisis across the world.