PASIR LABA CAMP, Singapore - When most soldiers were off enjoying their Fourth of July at home with their family and friends, the logistical team for Tiger Balm, a bilateral exercise with U.S. and Singapore Armed Forces, spent their Independence Day on a plane bound for Singapore.
They were tasked to ensure the exercise’s services and supplies were prepared for the participating personnel who arrived a week later.
The exercise is an annual U.S. Army Pacific sponsored event designed to promote regional security and interoperability between nations. It began July 15 and ended Friday when most of the personnel will then return to the U.S.
Unlike the rest of the participants, Sgt. 1st Class Charles T. Sykes and Rachel Y. Harris, contracting specialists with the 413th Contracting Support Brigade out of Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, will remain on site with their partner Sgt. 1st. Class Roberto Razon, a supply noncommissioned officer with the 298th Multi-Functional Training Unit (Regional Training Institute) of the Hawaii Army National Guard who also arrived here early.
“Most people wouldn’t want to arrive early or stay longer, but someone has to do it,” said Harris. “I get great satisfaction from helping our troops and ensuring they are taken care of regardless of extra man-hours.”
The team from Hawaii has worked closely with Singapore Army Staff Sgt. Nurhadi Mohamad, a supply NCO with 9th Division, Infantry Training Institute, Central Logistic Agency-West. Nurhadi is the team’s local counterpart that assisted with ensuring operations run smoothly.
Each of the logistics soldiers from Hawaii said that Nurhadi has been a great asset and very helpful with delivering support for the exercise.
“I am honored to be a part of Tiger Balm and had the opportunity to work and make friends with my American counterparts,” said Nurhadi, who stated this was his first time working logistics with the U.S. Army.
Sykes is the only member on the team that has previously traveled with USARPAC but said his coworkers have adapted and are true experts in their professions.
The team’s main purpose was to provide the highest quality of life for the soldiers here at the least expense to the U.S. Army. They saved around $5,000 by utilizing local resources with the help of Nurhadi.
All three soldiers said the best part of their job is being able to support their fellow troops and ensure they have everything they need. They said they enjoyed the opportunity to work with other organizations and gain valuable experience from Tiger Balm, which is helpful in training and the real world.