MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California -- Over a dozen U.S. Marines and Singapore soldiers stood outside the walls of a combat simulation town and devised a reaction strategy in case of Improvised Explosive Device attacks. Inside the compound, instructors placed simulation IEDs under rocks and around debris, while the unsuspecting troops began their patrol though the area. Suddenly, an explosion shook the compound, enveloping four Singapore soldiers in a thick, white haze. Security was immediately set up around the area as two simulated casualties were taken to a secure location.
The training was part of exercise Valiant Mark 14.2 and focused on Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment working with the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade. The forces conducted room clearing drills and IED lane training aboard Camp Pendleton, Dec. 6, 2014.
Exercise Valiant Mark enhances U.S. and Singapore forces combined combat readiness through live-fire and urban terrain training as well as amphibious operations familiarization. It’s an enduring training exercise between the two militaries with its first iteration being held in Singapore in January 2014.
“The general purpose of the IED lane training and room clearing was to give the Singapore Army basic knowledge on how to complete their mission in a mountain environment,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Jones, a fire team leader with 2nd platoon, Bravo Company.
Marines and Singapore soldiers burst through the doors of small homes inside an enclosed combat simulation town, ensuring that the rooms were free of any insurgents. They also used simulation explosives and breaching techniques before entering the rooms to be cleared.
Marines of 2nd platoon split into squads and integrated with members of the Singapore Army, said Cpl. Cody Kasper, a squad leader with 2nd platoon, Company B. 1st squad practiced room clearing and the use of explosives to enter a room, 2nd squad practiced basic patrolling along with reaction to small arms fire, sniper fire, and ambushes, while 3rd squad practiced reactions to finding IEDs and reactions to post IED explosions.
The Marines and Singapore soldiers gained a lot from the bilateral training, because they were able to exchange training techniques and familiarize themselves with foreign military, said Jones, a native of Cherryville, Kansas.
“Being able to train with a military from another nation gives us a good idea of the Singapore Army’s capabilities, and we can use that to help the Marines with new training techniques,” said Jones. “The exercise also enables the Singapore Army to conduct more advanced training techniques back in their own country.”
The exercises conducted throughout Valiant Mark keeps both the U.S. Marines and Singapore Army prepared for joint operations, future combat operations and will ensure that both militaries can easily work with each other to accomplish their mission.