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 THE BIRTH OF SAF

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TianHua
Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant


Number of posts : 456
Age : 24

PostSubject: THE BIRTH OF SAF   24th January 2009, 11:06

After more than 100 years of British colonial rule and two tumultuous years under the Malaysian Federation, Singapore was left to fend for herself. It was a time of great uncertainty as the leaders were faced with the enormous task of charting the path of our national destiny. Nevertheless, Singapore was determined to not only survive on its own, but to succeed.

An urgent priority after independence was to build up Singapore’s own defence capability. Singapore’s very first battalion of regular soldiers, the 1st Bn. Singapore Infantry Regiment (1 SIR) was formed on 12 March 1957 against a backdrop of impending self-government. Together with 2 SIR, which was raised from 1962, this was the only defence Singapore had in the post independence years.

It was with that in mind that the then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and other Ministers appealed to Singapore citizens to support National Service.

The passing of the NS (Amendment) Act in mid-Mar 1967 was a turning point in the lives of Singaporean males. Between 28 March 1967 and 18 April 1967, registration began in earnest at the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) for the first batch of citizens who were born between 1 January 1949 and 30 June 1949 – some 9,000 of them. This marked the beginning of the citizen army and also the start of National Service as a way of life for the male citizens of Singapore.

The start of National Service led to many of 1 SIR’s experienced commanders being called upon to train National Servicemen. In October 1968, 1 SIR joined the ranks of 3 and 4 SIR in training national servicemen and by the end of 1969, 1 SIR had become a fully operational national service battalion.

1 SIR was based at Guillemard Camp since January 1969, together with the Volunteers, provided the simple foundation around which our modern armed forces took shape. Only the top 10 per cent of the 9,000 were chosen for two years of fulltime military training in two new NS army battalions – the 3rd and 4th Bn. Singapore Infantry Regiments (3 and 4 SIR) at Taman Jurong Camp. The first batch of enlistees full-time military service reported from 17 August 1967. A total of 450 men were absorbed into each battalion with formal training commencing on 11 September 1967.

In an attempt to re-envision the identity of the battalion, a second logo was instituted on 11 March 1961.

“First and Foremost” has come a long way from being the motto of our pioneer battalion to become the guiding principle of the whole SAF representing victory and merit in all our endeavours.

The SAF Crest of today bears a strong resemblance to 1 SIR’s logo. The guiding principle of the SAF is reflected on the ribbon – “YANG PERTAMA DAN UTAMA” (FIRST AND FOREMOST) signifying victory and merit in all endeavours. The laurels surrounding the crest are a symbol of honour, glory, excellence and virtues that the SAF strives continuously to achieve.

Those who were not selected for full-time military service served in the Peoples’ Defence Force (PDF), the Vigilante Corps and Special Constabulary.

With the announcement having been made of the British pulling out her forces from Singapore, it became more imperative to accelerate our military build-up and attract more resources for defence.
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