Tomahawks, Singapore Army showcase partnership

By Staff Sgt. Michael Armstrong, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division on May 11, 2018

More than 280 United States and Singapore service members trained together to enhance interoperability in urban operations during Exercise Lightning Strike 18 held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord from April 16 to 24.

Soldiers assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and 2nd Singapore Infantry Regiment, participated in the 22nd iteration of the annual exercise between the two nations.

"Over the last nine days Soldiers of 4-23 (Inf.) and 2nd Singapore Infantry Division participated in individual and collective tasks," said Col. Jay Miseli, 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. commander. "They demonstrated our confidence, capability and interoperability as allies, who are ready to fight in a wide variety of contingencies."

This iteration of Exercise Lightning Strike 18 featured complex operational scenarios strengthening interoperability between the two units.

A lot of time was spent learning how both militaries employ their different tactics, techniques and procedures on the battlefield.

Exercise Lightning Strike 18 consisted of a series of events, including operating Stryker assault vehicles, an integrated battalion assault and military operations in urban terrain.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord's world-class training facilities enabled the Soldiers to work as a cohesive team and tested their knowledge, skills and abilities to fight as combined United States-Singapore squads.

"Our armies have worked together and interacted in multiple exercises amidst the uncertain climate in the Asia-Pacific," said Maj. Shah Rizan, 2nd Singapore Infantry Regiment. "We welcome the American presence in the region because it is crucial to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific, which is a vital interest to both our countries."

The exercise was more than just training on military techniques. For the soldiers involved, it was a chance to learn about one another's culture.

"By training side-by-side, I think it's fair to say that both sides had ample chance to learn from each other," said Pvt. Muhammad Hameem, 2nd Singapore Infantry Regiment. "I know many of us here have probably exchanged patches and badges, but the intangible experiences, ideas and lessons that we have exchanged go way beyond that."

Although the eight days of training came and went, the Soldiers found time to make lasting connections between the two forces.

"Through this rich exchange of ideas and experiences, we came to appreciate better our similarities and differences, which then helps us to learn from one another's strengths and weaknesses," Hameem said.