SAN DIEGO – Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, hosted an official visit with Republic of Singapore Deputy Prime Minister for Policy and Minister of Defence Mr. Teo Chee Hean, and Republic of Singapore Chief of Navy Rear Adm. Chew Men Leong, to celebrate a major cooperation milestone March 12.
The milestone visit was in conjunction with the final battle problem for the Republic of Singapore Navy PEACE TRITON, a joint training venture began more than a year ago.
At that time, U.S. Navy mentors began training Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Navy (RSN) personnel in maritime helicopter operations and missions with their newly acquired S-70 helicopters, and ultimately how to integrate the capabilities these helicopter bring into the RSN Fleet.
Early integration began when RSAF pilots made a historic first-ever underway landing of an S-70 aboard San Diego-based USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) last November as part of the final training steps.
“We’re very proud to be chosen by the professionals of the Singaporean military to provide assistance as they integrate a new capability into their Formidable-class frigates,” said Hunt. “Through continued interaction, we help our collective security, and by becoming more familiar with each other we improve our ability to work together in whatever challenges we face.”
Capt. Peter M. Driscoll, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 7, said the Singaporean Sailors and Airmen performed superbly during the year-long training operation.
“Ship helicopter integration is a significant undertaking, which has tactical, technical, and cultural challenges,” said Driscoll. “Your effort is even more complex because you have made it a joint effort, across service lines…and you are executing on a very compressed timeline.”
Hunt said the work done with San Diego Sailors added a new dimension and depth to the already strong relationships built between the two navies through ongoing interoperability efforts such as CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training),
RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific Exercise), and the current Combined Task Force 151 operations going on in the Western Pacific.
Commander, 3rd Fleet helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet’s 50 million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific as well as supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.