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SAF Honours its Best Units

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Crew of the Republic of Singapore Navy’s Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel RSS Fortitude in the ship’s Integrated Command Centre.

The 1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn) has clinched the SAF’s overall Best Combat Unit for the 18th consecutive time, recording an unprecedented 35 wins since the introduction of the SAF Best Unit Competition in 1969. True to their motto, “For Honour and Glory”, SAF Commandos are elite fighters highly trained to conduct raid and reconnaissance operations deep within enemy territory. Masters of stealth with the ability to conduct land, air, and sea borne operations, they usually operate in small teams and possess specialised tactical skills in weaponry, demolition and communication. Commanding Officer (CO) of 1 Cdo Bn, LTC Koo Kai Siong said, “Winning the Best Combat Unit is an honour and reflects the commitment of every serviceman in giving their best to defend Singapore. We will continue to nurture our Commando culture of excellence that underpins this commitment and inculcate the values that drive every Commando to push boundaries and do the ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

A total of 18 active units and nine National Service (NS) units are recognised for being the best in their respective formations. In recognition of their achievement, 1 Cdo Bn will have the State Colours presented to them during the SAF Day Parade, which will be held at the SAFTI Military Institute on 1 July 2021. The other Best Unit and Best National Service Unit awards will be presented in separate decentralised ceremonies. Among the formation winners are the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s RSS Fortitude (Best Maritime Security Unit) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s 143 Squadron (SQN) (Best Fighter Squadron).

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Commando fighters from the 1st Commando Battalion conducting sniper training.

This year’s Best Maritime Security Unit goes to Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel, RSS Fortitude. The ship safeguarded Singapore waters against threats, ensuring that maritime trade continued to ply safely through our waters so that Singaporeans could receive daily essentials like food and oil, and that we can continue our Singaporean way of life. In addition, RSS Fortitude was also involved in a passage exercise with the Indonesia Navy. These interactions at sea ensure that the RSN keeps our relationships with other navies warm, in spite of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Commanding Officer of RSS Fortitude, MAJ Randy Peh, attributed the ship’s success to her crew’s resolution and professionalism to achieve mission success safely amidst the pandemic. He said, “The crew of RSS Fortitude understands that the job of defending Singapore’s waters is tough, entails a lot of sacrifice, and demands that we all possess strong fundamentals. The ship’s crew strives to demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism when safeguarding our territorial waters.”

The RSAF’s 143 Squadron has clinched the Best Fighter Squadron for the fifth time. It is the SQN’s second win in a row, and their third win while operating the F-16C/D multi-role fighter aircraft. 143 SQN conducts a wide spectrum of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, and maintains a high level of operational readiness to support air defence operations. Even amidst COVID-19, 143 SQN safely and actively participates in local and overseas exercises to hone its professional competencies and sharpen its combat edge. 143 SQN is currently deployed to Guam, and received the news that they had won the Best Fighter Squadron while there. Commanding Officer of 143 SQN, MAJ Norman Teo said, “The squadron’s back-to-back win is testament to the dedication, professionalism and determination of the personnel of 143 SQN. This could not have been possible without the support of the engineering teams from 5 Air Engineering and Logistics Group as well. Receiving the news while we are deployed in Guam has made us more determined to train harder while we are here, to defend our skies. It was indeed a challenging year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but the teamwork and sacrifices by each member of the SQN have ensured that we can continue to achieve mission success, and maintain the highest levels of operational readiness to safeguard Singapore’s skies.”

The annual SAF Best Unit and Best NS Unit Competitions were introduced in 1969 and 1993 respectively to recognise units that have excelled in the areas of combat readiness, operational proficiency and administrative excellence. The units are assessed based on a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process over the past year. The competitions also serve to enhance mission excellence, professionalism and camaraderie among servicemen in the SAF units.

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