PASIR LABA CAMP, Singapore - Nearly 300 soldiers from both nations celebrated the end of a two-week, collaborative exercise here Friday.
The armies spent their time together working through mock wartime scenarios from the command and planning perspective. Participants were divided into two fronts, both trying to occupy and stabilize a Pacific island territory.
The two fictional fronts were forced to negotiate through logistical issues, troop management, casualty care and other challenges that often come along with forging war in a Pacific-jungle environment.
"The hardest part is the collaboration of systems," said Spc. Erin McKee, a medic for the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, 7th Infantry Division. "We use something completely different from [Singapore] in the United States.
"We are teaching the Singaporeans how to do things and they are teaching us how to do things," McKee said.
“We walked away from exercise Tiger Balm more aware of each others’ capabilities,” said Col. Fadzully, Commander of the 23rd Singapore Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. “In the last two weeks, friendship has been forged, camaraderie strengthened and valuable lessons have been learned on both sides.”
Along with the 23rd Singapore Infantry Brigade, the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, 7th Infantry Division and the Hawaii Army National Guard all took part in the exercise, which is currently in its 32nd year.
“We wanted to improve our command post functions as a staff. Second, we wanted to learn to operate with our Singaporean counterparts,” said Col. Daniel Soller, Commander of the 201st BfSB. “We have easily accomplished both objectives, and in the process, have made very good friends in Singapore.”
“The level of open, genuine teamwork between our Armies is a real example of the strong friendship, cultural awareness and mutual cooperation that we maintain,” said Maj. Gen. Gary Hara, Deputy Commanding General of the Army National Guard for U.S. Army Pacific.
The exercise is one of several that the U.S. Army conducts annually alongside armies in the Pacific from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and others.
“Over the last three decades, this exercise has emerged as one of US Army Pacific’s most important and dynamic displays of military partnership,” Hara said. “It is a clear example of how our Armies continue to learn together and work together for peace and stability in this region.”