By James Brabenec, Fort Sill CannoneerNovember 25, 2009
FORT SILL, Okla. (Nov. 25, 2009) -- Fort Sill's total force training capability provided the backdrop for more than 600 Singapore armed forces personnel who rehearsed their military capabilities here during Exercise Forging Sabre Nov. 1-24.
Forging Sabre is annually held at locations throughout the world by Singapore, an island nation slightly smaller than New York City. Singapore has held the exercise in Australia, Africa and Twenty-nine Palms, Calif.
With 29,000 square miles of joint military-controlled airspace and 47,000 acres of maneuver space to rehearse joint fight tactics, Fort Sill provided needed space.
"Fort Sill is a very good training area ... and it provided a combined arms training capability that's not always available elsewhere," said Brig. Gen. Tan Chuan-Jin, Singaporean director of the exercise.
The Singaporean military employed unmanned aerial vehicles, Apache attack helicopters and F-16 fighter jets along with the country's newly acquired high mobility artillery rocket system.
"This is a hallmark event for a great Coalition partner to demonstrate the Joint and Combined capabilities that we see here," said Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Fort Sill and Fires Center of Excellence commander. "I believe this is a great venue to plan and rehearse Forging Sabre; it's important to do this because it really does forge this one team approach."
Halverson said the exercise wrapped up a year-long effort of planning and preparation.
"I'm delighted to work with the Singaporean forces. This exercise is a culminating point for us, because it shows the world-class joint fires center Fort Sill represents not only to our nation but also globally. For the Singaporeans to come here is a great testimony to the capabilities and the training ranges we have here," he said.
The general lauded the Singaporeans for their expertise displayed during the exercise.
"They are very impressive and are operating at the graduate level in a complex, integrated joint fires. It's a great testimony to their commitment to national security and the defense of their country," he said.
The exercise reached its explosive climax Nov. 17 during an integrated live fire at Thompson Hill. With a more than 20-strong Singapore and local media contingent along with exercise participants watching, HIMARS opened the live fire with tight groupings of rockets striking the impact area. Soon F-16 jets added their punctuating bombs sending vast clouds of black smoke billowing skyward, and Apache helicopters completed the exercise delivering rockets on target.
"It's exactly what we want to see here in the future as we bring in more Coalition partners," Halverson said. "You're going to see a lot more Coalition training here within the Lawton/Fort Sill area."
Fort Sill's has mobilized more than 65,000 servicemembers since 2001 and its training ranges have handled more than 4,000 Air Force and North Atlantic Treaty Organization sorties over its airspace annually. Combined with live and virtual training options, the post's Joint and Combined Fires University seeks to provide the highest quality training, education and development opportunities for Soldiers and Coalition personnel to provide experts in the art and science of lethal and non-lethal fires.