BOISE, Idaho: In May 2009, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) took delivery of its first F-15SG and, shortly after, inaugurated a detachment based in Idaho, United States. Its aim was to build a critical mass of pilots and engineers capable of flying and maintaining the fourth-generation fighter jet.
A decade later, the Peace Carvin Five (PC V) detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base has come a long way, validating the capabilities of a fully-fledged fleet and winning awards at high-level multilateral exercises.
PC V detachment commander Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Oon Kok Choon, 41, said the detachment has trained well with the United States Air Force (USAF), earned international recognition for the RSAF and benefited the entire Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
“In the past few years here, I have developed new tactics for the RSAF, operationalised new weapons for the RSAF and integrated new weapon systems for the RSAF,” he told reporters at the base on Thursday (Oct 10).
“This is the value that Peace Carvin Five brings to not just the RSAF, but the SAF as a whole.”
The detachment celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday with a parade officiated by Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, who said the occasion is testament to Singapore-United States defence ties that have “stood the test of time”.
“The confluence of our country's strategic influences, and in mutual commitment to military interactions, have enabled us to develop our defence ties to be strong and excellent,” he said in a speech in front of a contingent of PC V personnel.
PC V is where RSAF crew like pilots, weapon systems officers, engineers and air warfare officers continue their training with the F-15SGs, benefiting from being close to vast overland airspace, live-firing facilities and experienced US fighter squadrons.
“I see Peace Carvin Five as the tip of the spear that the RSAF has,” LTC Oon said. “We’re here to have high-end training so as to sharpen the edge of all the men and women I have here. We are also here to push our operational boundaries.”
LTC Oon added that the detachment “actively participates” with their counterparts from the USAF's 366th Fighter Wing – which the PC V is under – in exercises and competitions held throughout the year.
“It is through our RSAF's professionalism here that our American counterparts get to see us as a world-class air force here and treat us as equals,” he said. “So with this relationship, they will understand how we operate and be more willing to continue to work with us.”
At the international level, the detachment most recently won the outstanding aircraft maintenance unit award at the Exercise Red Flag-Nellis in March, which saw the participation of the US, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“We train with international partners and also make it deliberate to engage and reach out to these partners, firstly to improve our interoperability with each other, and more importantly to enhance our relationship (with other nations),” LTC Oon added.
The RSAF has shown that its capabilities are “good and getting better”, said Colonel Richard Goodman, commander of the 366th Fighter Wing, also called the Gunfighters.
“So out here at the Mountain Home Range Complex, through exercises like Forging Sabre or Gunfighter flags, both in the air or on the ground, I’ve gained an appreciation for,” he said. “And again, everything I’ve seen is professional, lethal and ready.”
In his speech, Mr Heng thanked the 366th Fighter Wing “for being such a trusted partner and gracious host”.
“Let me now take this opportunity to thank the US government, the United States Air Force and our industry partners,” he said. “The rapid build-up of the F-15SG and the success of the PC V detachment are only possible because of your steadfast support throughout these 10 years.”
Mr Heng also unveiled a commemorative 10th anniversary tail flash on an F-15SG, symbolising the strong partnership between the RSAF and USAF.
The PC V is the largest of the three RSAF detachments in the US, with about 375 personnel including spouses and children living on base or in the town of Mountain Home.
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The RSAF also conducts flying training with the F-16C/Ds at the Peace Carvin II detachment at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and with the AH-64D Apaches at the Peace Vanguard detachment in Marana, also in Arizona.