CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, alongside elements of the 7th Singaporean Infantry Brigade cleared a simulated combat town while utilizing rocket assets as part of Exercise Valiant Mark 14.2 aboard Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 15, 2014.
Exercise Valiant Mark is a continuous bilateral training exercise between the United States Marine Corps and the Singaporean Armed Forces which is scheduled to take place aboard Camp Pendleton through Dec. 19.
Exercise Valiant Mark enhances the United States and Singaporean forces’ combined combat readiness through live-fire and urban terrain training as well as amphibious operations familiarization. The first iteration of this exercise, Valiant Mark 14.1, was held in January 2014 in Singapore.
Marines and Singaporean Soldiers conducted a simulated combat scenario in which the Singaporean Armed Forces arrived in tanks and progressed into the combat town to clear it with supporting rocket assets provided by the Marines.
“Today we have integrated with the Singaporean Armed Forces and attached assault men to each section and we’ve given them the asset of rockets to take the town,” said Cpl. Travis Reynders, an assault man and section leader attached to Weapons Platoon, Alpha Company, 1/5. “Our mission is to clear the town with them,” said Reynders.
Each Singaporean section conducted clearing maneuvers, and as a whole, they cleared every building in the town one by one while gauging how to react and proceed while taking fire from the enemy.
“The Singaporeans pick things up very quickly, especially when we are dealing with MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) and urban environments. We teach them how we would do it, and then we discuss how they would do it,” said Reynders.
The Marines and Singaporean Armed Forces communicated as they progressed through the exercise and informed each another of the decisions they would make to accomplish the mission. The Marines offered input into the scenario and shared their knowledge with the Singaporean Soldiers to help them improve their tactics.
“It’s different when you are used to working with your own company; it’s different switching and learning new tactics. It’s definitely a learning experience,” said Reynders. “There is always good and bad from everything, you take everything away you can,” said Reynders.
The Marines and Singaporean Armed Forces continue to establish and build a relationship that strengthens both militaries and improves the overall mission readiness of the United States and its allies.
“The takeaway for the Marines, is the experience. I always learn something new every time I work with a different military. It’s honestly amazing the impression that we’ve left on them,” said Cpl. Estevan Ramos, an assault man and squad leader attached to Weapons Plt., Company A, 1/5.
Marines and allies of the United States continue to train and remain ready to support the mission and respond to any crisis at a moment’s notice.