By Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 19, 2014
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The U.S. and Republic of Singapore Air Forces celebrated five years of partnership during the Peace Carvin V anniversary at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, May 16.
The celebration honored the PC V F-15SG Strike Eagle detachment, known as the U.S. Air Force's 428th Fighter Squadron, nicknamed the Buccaneers.
Mountain Home has proven to be the ideal location for the Buccaneers to train on the RSAF's newest fighter platform, as the base controls and maintains almost 7,500 square miles of operational range space complete with emitter sites to simulate opposing forces.
The RSAF Airmen benefit from such a vast and unpopulated training ground, which contrasts with the Singapore landscape, with an area less than 250 square miles and a population of nearly 5.4 million people, according to the Department of Statistics Singapore.
Access to airspace and ranges allows for realistic, safe training and testing, while providing flexibility to accommodate preparation for the allied nations - all culminating in world-class instruction.
"Peace Carvin V helps increase partner capacity by providing top-end training to our RSAF partners," said Lt. Col. William Marshall, 428th FS commander. "Our (Ground-controlled interception) controllers routinely control the other American fighter squadrons, which allow us to operate with our F-15E counterparts and integrate how we would in combat."
In the past five years a core group of fully qualified F-15SG air and ground crews brought the F-15SG fighter aircraft up to full operational capability ahead of the scheduled 2012 timeline. The Buccaneers made other historic milestones along the way.
"We've fired the first Foreign Military Sales AIM-9X Sidewinder and first AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles. We also dropped the first Laser (Joint Attack Direct Munition, or JDAM) for the RSAF," said Marshall. "We've demonstrated that the RSAF is a capable and credible partner through our performance at Exercises Red Flag Alaska, Maple Flag (in Canada) and Forging Sabre (in Singapore)."
Operations at Mountain Home, and Exercises Red Flag Alaska and Maple Flag Canada proved meteorologically challenging for RSAF Airmen, as the average annual low in Singapore is 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite unfamiliar weather, terrain and culture, RSAF Airmen and their families tend to fully integrate with their Idaho neighbors and their children attend public schools in the local community.
Though assimilation has been successful, there are still foreseeable obstacles. The Buccaneers vow to overcome.
"We are attempting to stand up a weapon's school here for the RSAF starting next year," said Marshall. "It's a very aggressive schedule to meet based on development of academics and validating the syllabus, but we're in the process of working with Boeing, (the F-15SG manufacturer), to help us develop the academics."
Scholarly activities for RSAF Airmen transcend the 428th FS. ME1s, or RSAF senior airmen equivalents, began attending the Mountain Home Air Force Base Airman Leadership School in the autumn of 2013, with the first three RSAF Airmen graduating Sept. 7, 2013.
"Our engineers, both officers and enlisted, have many unique opportunities available to them by being selected for a tour of duty at Mountain Home," said ME3 (Senior Master Sgt.) Govindasamy Mogan, 428th FS covering chief and quality assurance inspector. "Our pilots and maintainers benefit from the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with allied U.S. Air Force personnel, which could directly equate to improved mission execution in a combat environment. We train how we would potentially deter, and the realism is that nations rarely engage in armed conflict alone in the present day."
The concept is well understood by junior enlisted Airmen.
ME1 Joshua Chiang, 428th FS, was as one of the three original RSAF students to graduate ALS, but also joined the alumni of chosen distinguished graduates and garnered the Academic Achievement Award.
"Being selected to come to Mountain Home Air Force Base and work with our American partners has been the most profound moment in my fairly new professional career," said Chiang. "Since arriving here I've tried to assimilate into the Gunfighter spirit, share the RSAF culture and embrace our partnership. So being selected to attend ALS was really exciting. My goal was clear and simple. It was to do my utmost best, give it my all, and most importantly, treasure the experience. Being named a distinguished graduate of a U.S. Air Force ALS came as a surprise to me and it will be a moment I'll carry with me in my entire career."
The Peace Carvin program has a history spanning 21 years with detachments at four other locations in the U.S., including the PC II F-16 fighter detachment at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Peace Prairie CH-47 Chinook helicopter detachment in Grand Prairie, Texas, Peace Vanguard AH-64 Apache helicopter detachment at Marana, Ariz., and Peace Triton S-70B Sikorsky Seahawk naval helicopter detachment at San Diego, Calif.