FORT SILL, Okla. — Operation Daring Warrior returned to Southwest Oklahoma after a three-year hiatus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Singaporean Armed Forces and the Fires Center of Excellence joined together for live fire exercises.
This year's ODW exercise involved High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, from Singapore’s 23rd Singapore Artillery and M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, or MLRS, from Fort Sill’s 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery Regiment.
The Singapore Army spent nearly a month training and collaborating with Fort Sill units which culminated in the firing of multiple rockets across Fort Sill’s West Range during the weekend of Sep. 17, 2022.
“Our partnership with Singapore is just a great opportunity for us to train together,” said Lt. Col. Elijah Ward, 3-13 FA battalion commander. “The U.S. and Singapore have been training together for 56 years with the idea that we learn best when we learn from each other.”
While the exercise is a great opportunity for Ward and his battalion to work with foreign militaries, it is also a chance for Singapore to live-fire their weapons system which, due to land constraints, is near impossible in their home country.
The exercise enables Singapore forces to build its operational capabilities and readiness, in addition to enhancing the defense relationship between the two countries, said Ward.
“Over here it creates the training realism that we need,” said Maj. Kenny Teo, commander of 23rd Singaporean Artillery. “Fort Sill provides training space that we don’t get to enjoy in Singapore.”
For U.S Army Soldiers, the weekend live-fire was “just another day at the office,” but for the Soldiers of the 23rd Singaporean Artillery, the ranges of Fort Sill provided them with a unique opportunity that many of them have waited their entire careers for.
“Wow, it’s so powerful,” said 3rd Sgt. Yingzhan Shao, commander of one of the launch vehicles. “The sound, the pressure you feel — it makes you proud. You’re like ‘Wow, all my training has led to this single moment,’ and as a launch commander I’ll say that this is really my proudest moment.”
Teo lauded the support provided by Fires Center of Excellence for the exercise and training, and while this was his first training exercise in the U.S., he said he looks forward to more in the future.
“The friendship and interaction we have had over this time will continue to build upon the already close relationship that our countries have,” said Teo. “I look forward to having more opportunities to train with and interact with the Soldiers here at Fort Sill in the future."
For Ward, who just returned from a yearlong deployment to the Republic of Korea, the training was an opportunity to fine-tune his Soldiers’ capabilities and strengthen relationships with an ally.
"I can't overstate the importance of this kind of training in terms of the long-range strategies,” said Ward. “This is all about building capability and capacity in our partners around the world, so that we can make sure that we provide peace and stability in places that are really critical to the United States.”