Oct. 14 (UPI) — The Royal Singapore Air Force, with fighter planes but little space for an airbase, celebrated its 10th year of training operations in Idaho.
A ceremony commemorated Singapore’s detachment of F-15SG fighter planes, known as the Peace Carvin V wing, and training program at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho last week.
It was officiated by Heng Chee How, Singapore’s senior defense minister, who thanked the U.S. Air Force 366th Fighter Wing Squadron “for being such a trusted partner and a gracious host.” He added that his country’s detachment is “the anchor of the RSAF’s F-15SG program, where we validate our war-fighting doctrines and qualify a steady flow of F-15SG pilots, weapon systems officers and instructors.”
The U.S. squadron has also trained RSAF pilots on F-16 planes at Cannon AFB, N.M.
The detachment trains pilots, weapon systems officers and air force engineers to operate F-15SG fighter jets alongside their US Air Force counterparts. Pilots typically spend two to three years at the U.S. base, and bring their families to live in the United States.
One pilot, ME2 [Military Expert 2] Lee Ban Chin, told reporters he worried about his four children’s return to Singapore’s famously exceptional school system when he transitions home, later this year. The children have been preparing for the School Placement Exercise for Returning Singaporeans, or Spers, and their struggle has concerned him.
“When my eldest son was preparing for his Secondary 2 Spers, I saw him struggle a lot, because he didn’t have our Singapore primary school foundation,” said Lee’s wife, Angela Giam. “For him to skip Primary 6 and then study for the Secondary 2 exam, I saw him struggle.”
About 375 RSAF are deployed in Idaho at any time, and community support, including communal family dinners, is encouraged. On weekends families shop in Boise and recently visited a local pumpkin farm with a Halloween theme.
Singapore, a largely urban country of only 280 square miles, has little area to train pilots, and has long-term training agreements with several countries, including France and Australia.