Continuing from where I left off. Another experience and the last one I had with foreign soldiers.
This time it was for Exercise Carat. I cannot remember which year it was and also I cannot remember much. This was definitely when life was already into auto-pilot. But I do remember a few things and I am going to document them here.
According to what we were told, the Guards unit has similar operational tasks with the US Marines. We are both air and seaborne land elite infantry formations. So every year, there will be this “exchange exercises” between the Marines and the Guards unit. Just like Exercise Semangat Bersatu, we were supposed to take turns among batches. One batch would go over to the Hawaii, to experience this joint exercise. The next batch would stay in Singapore and the Marines would come over. Again, I consider myself lucky that my batch was the batch where the Marines came to Bedok Camp. Some guys lamented that they would love to be going to Hawaii. Not me. Enough travelling already within these two and a half years.
Like I said, I cannot remember much. So it shall be a short post.
A company sized Marines soldiers came over to Bedok Camp for this joint exercise. Just like Exercise Semangat Bersatu, there was a mini “expo” and then a joint mission exercise.
The Marines displayed their weapons, vehicles and ration during the mini expo. So did we. We had fun looking at their vehicles. Mostly their rovers and jeeps. Most of us were excited to see their combat rations. Their food was normal. Biscuits, breads, baked beans, energy bars. Pretty much the same stuff. What we found cool was, they all have a packet of Marlboro cigarettes included in their rations.
The Marines soldiers were generally much bigger in size than most of us. They were not much taller but just bigger. Most of us were skinny or lean.
Another thing that we found interesting during that expo was how small their weapons were. Big men carrying small weapons. They looked at my GPMG set and wondered how these skinny fellas were able to carry them while we looked in envy at how small their machine guns were. Theirs were similar to our SAW guns.
(Our Cool Weapons)
And the mortars.... they were shocked to see the size of our 84mm recoilless rifle while their mortar can be placed at the side of their field packs.
A few days later, the mission exercise started. Yup, our skinny soldiers had heavier load compared to the Marines. All of us hunching our backs and walking in the forest while the big sized soldiers had comfortable backpacks looking like they were on a hike. But honestly I was surprised. We walked at night as per usual. We just walked. Like how we walked in all other mission exercises. During one of the halts and as I walked along the line to receive instructions, I saw the Marines soldiers lying down on their backs and panting. Clothes unbuttoned and fanning themselves. Well I guess it was a good exercise and experience for them to feel our humidity and heat even though it was at night.
The last thing about this exercise that I could remember was, the assault on Pulau Sudong. After we were done there, we were supposed to be airlifted from the island back to mainland. The Marines would get to fly on our Super Pumas while were got to ride their helicopter. So my platoon was platoon 9. The last platoon of the company and battalion. When it was our turn, their helicopter had a technical problem. We waited till it was almost dark. And that was all I can remember. I cannot remember how we got out from there.
So yes, that was a short post. Just for the sake of documenting. I still have a lot more experiences to share in my upcoming posts. But if you do have anything that you would like to read or want to know about, do leave a comment. Maybe I can have more ideas on what to write about.
NEXT WEEK : EXERCISE WALLABY 2001
Categories : The Army Series
Web logs of art activities on a regular basis (hope).