Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Visits Luke

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elias Carrero
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong, visited the 425th Fighter Squadron Oct. 6, 2023, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

The 425th Fighter Squadron and 425th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, commonly referred to as the Black Widows, have had a presence at Luke since 1993.

Composed of over 100 Singaporeans and over 30 Americans, the 425th FS is the longest operating overseas detachment for the Republic of Singapore Air Force and this year marks its’ 30th year of training in the United States.

“A key purpose of my visit is to affirm the close and enduring partnership between Singapore and the United States, and to grow multifaceted cooperation between our two countries.” Said DPM Wong. “One key pillar of our bilateral relations is defense. The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s presence at Luke Air Force Base is testament to our strong and mutually-beneficial defense relationship, which goes back a long way. I would like to convey my appreciation to the U.S. Air Force for its partnership with the RSAF, as well as to the Arizona political leadership and local community for their support."

During his visit, DPM Wong met with the leadership of both the 425th FS and the 56th Fighter Wing.

“Training alongside our Singaporean partners allows us to sharpen our competitive edge and secure common interests,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jason Rueschhoff, 56th FW commander. “Here at Luke, we’re working with partners from around the world every day. We’re working together early and often, laying the foundation for tomorrow’s fighting force.”

In addition to meeting with senior leadership, DPM Wong also met with Singaporean airmen and families from the 425th, received a base tour, and learned about the operational capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II.

Jonthan Kaplan, U.S. Embassy Singapore Ambassador, visited Luke alongside DPM Wong and discussed different mission sets of the fighter wing.  

“You cannot surge the type of relationship that we have with our Singaporean partners,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Keagan McLeese, 56th FW deputy commander. “We eat together, we laugh together, we play together, we train together. By building these partnerships now, should the time come, we will have a seamless integration in a time of crisis.”

Fostering relationships with partner nations strengthen shared defense capabilities and encourage collaboration between the forces at all levels. The Airmen and families, and international partners at Luke AFB aim to bolster these long-term relationships.