The Army’s 1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn), the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF’s) 145 Squadron (145 SQN) and the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN’s) RSS Formidable have clinched the Best Combat Unit, Best Fighter Squadron and Best Ship awards respectively in this year’s Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition. In addition, 11 other active and 10 National Service (NS) units are also recognised as being the best in their respective formations. President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen will present the awards to the winners at the SAF Day Parade on 1 July 2014 at the SAFTI Military Institute.

For the 11th consecutive year, 1 Cdo Bn clinched the coveted title of the SAF Best Combat Unit – an unprecedented 28 wins altogether by the elite force since the introduction of the competition in 1969. Adept at operating deep within enemy territory, the SAF Commandos are capable of performing specialised operations such as reconnaissance, airborne and raids missions. Head General Staff of Headquarters Commando Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Iain Hoo, the former Commanding Officer who led 1 Cdo Bn to victory and handed over his command to Major Alvin Tijoe on 12 Jun 2014, attributed the unit’s consistent achievement to its strong emphasis on individual fitness, fundamental soldiering skills and teamwork. He said, “1 Cdo Bn builds on the inherent strengths of our people – from individual fitness, soldiering skills and operational thinking to team competence, cohesion and resilience. As a synergised team, we live by the mantra in our Airborne Trooper Creed, ‘I will succeed in all my missions.’ This attitude has guided us to constantly excel and define new standards for ourselves.”

Having bagged the award in 1998, 2000 and 2012, this is the fourth time that 145 SQN emerged as the Best Fighter Squadron. This year marks the squadron’s second win in three years since operating the F-16D Block 52+ multi-role fighter aircraft in 2004. Equipped with state-of-the-art avionics for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat roles, the F16D Block 52+ is one of the most sophisticated multi-role fighter aircraft in the world that is capable of carrying out a full spectrum of day and night missions in all weather conditions. Besides maintaining a high state of readiness to defend Singapore’s skies, 145 SQN also participates actively in major multilateral exercises such as Exercise Bersama Shield and Bersama Lima under the ambit of the Five Power Defence Arrangements, Joint Military Training in India and Exercise Cope Tiger with air forces of Thailand and the United States. Commenting on 145 SQN’s achievements, Commanding Officer LTC Lim Kok Hong said, “I am honoured to be able to lead my team to win the award this year and in 2012. Emerging top is testament to our high flying standards as well as the administrative and work processes that we constantly strive to improve. I would like to commend my team for their dedication and relentless drive to achieve excellence.”

This is the second time that RSS Formidable has clinched the Best Ship award; the first time was in 2008. Commissioned in 2007, RSS Formidable demonstrated excellent warfare competencies and professionalism through participation in numerous exercises such as Exercise Bersama Lima, a Five Power Defence Arrangement exercise, as well as Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) with the United States Navy. Commanding Officer LTC Ong Chee Wei praised the ship’s crew for their strong sense of professionalism and dedication in winning of the award. He said, “Winning the award is recognition of the competency, hard work and commitment of the RSS Formidable crew.”

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