Commandos bag 19th straight Best Combat Unit title

Actions /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/4e43c1bb-db3e-474f-b17c-68811b75664b/28jun22news1_photo1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-4e43c1bb-db3e-474f-b17c-68811b75664b-o6FI-8d /web/portal/pioneer/article/cover-article-detail/milestones/2022-Q2/28jun22_news1
28 Jun 2022 | MILESTONES

Commandos bag 19th straight Best Combat Unit title

1st Commando Battalion marks its 50th anniversary with its 36th Best Combat Unit win.

// Story by Koh Eng Beng

// Photos by Kenneth Lin & Chai Sian Liang

1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn) took home the Best Combat Unit title in the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) Best Combat Unit Competition for the 19th consecutive time.

The competition – introduced in 1969 – recognises units which excel in the areas of combat readiness, operational proficiency and administrative excellence.

Trained to operate deep within enemy territory, the SAF commandos are renowned for their high proficiency in specialised operations such as airborne, reconnaissance and raid missions.

"This win is really a validation of our efforts year on year," said Commanding Officer Major (MAJ) Tan Rui Lin. "We do not take it for granted that we'll win every year but, rather, we are always seeking to improve year after year."

MAJ Tan is glad that 1 CDO Bn has continued the tradition of excellence as the battalion marks its 50th anniversary this year.

A key strength of the battalion, he said, is their ability to maintain their best practices year after year, yet improve themselves at the same time.

"Whether it's to improve our current practices, or finding new and more effective ways to do things, (this ability helps us) to maintain operational readiness as well as to sharpen our edge," said the 31-year-old.

MAJ Tan stressed that the battalion focused on training well, and that the competition was secondary and merely served as a validation of their competencies. "If we win the award, it's simply a bonus."

Commandos conducting an urban operations drill.
Gearing up for night urban operations training.
Storming a room under darkness.

Tough training paid off

In 1 Cdo Bn, the soldiers go through some of the most rigorous training in the Army.

"Naturally, with the training we do, I will feel quite exhausted sometimes at the end of the week," said 2nd Sergeant (2SG) Dylan James Mc Kaige, a Full-time National Serviceman (NSF).

"I can't just spend the entire weekend going out with my friends or my family, because I need that time to rest, relax and get myself ready for the next week (of training)," the 19-year-old elaborated.

2SG Dylan is grateful to his parents for their support and understanding in his NS journey.

Fellow NSF Corporal (CPL) Natarajan Premsekar often forgoes family and friend outings on weekends as well. But looking back, he felt that the sacrifice was worthwhile.

"Winning this award signifies that we're combat ready," said the 20-year-old detachment medic. "I feel very proud and relieved because we've been working really very hard since last year, going for many outfield missions."

Commando training has made CPL Natarajan a stronger and resilient person.

Emerging stronger

For 2SG Dylan, what kept him going through the ups and downs of commando training were his detachment mates whom he had known since Basic Military Training.

They would help one another to carry loads so that all of them could finish their outfield training together, he recalled. Such shared experiences allowed them to forge a strong bond.

"I'm with them from the start to the end of my NSF journey and even throughout (Operationally Ready) NS (training later), so it's great to have this tight brotherhood," said the Assistant Company Sergeant Major.

As for CPL Natarajan, his key takeaway from his commando training was becoming more resilient.

"Even when fatigue sets in nowadays, I still do my 100 per cent. I won't give fatigue as an excuse to back away or not perform up to standard."

Suggested Reading
SAF to sharpen capabilities & ramp up training, digitalisation efforts: Dr Ng Feature
SAF to sharpen capabilities & ramp up training, digitalisation efforts: Dr Ng

Defence minister Dr Ng Eng Hen outlines plans for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to stay vigilant against heightened security threats, in his annual SAF Day interview on 30 Jun.

Making a difference in his soldiers' lives Feature
Making a difference in his soldiers' lives

SLTC Muhammad Helmi Bin Khaswan, one of 778 MINDEF and SAF to be promoted this year, enjoys shaping people's lives – this is what drives him as an SAF officer.

716 SIR named Best NS Infantry Unit for 2 PDF Feature
716 SIR named Best NS Infantry Unit for 2 PDF

This is the second consecutive win for the infantry battalion.

RSAF's top fighters: 143 SQN Feature
RSAF's top fighters: 143 SQN

143 SQN, which operates the F-16 fighter aircraft, has won their third consecutive Best Fighter Squadron title.

RSS Tenacious wins Best Fleet Unit title Feature
RSS Tenacious wins Best Fleet Unit title

This is the frigate's second win in the SAF's Best Combat Unit competition.

Naval diver, Commando lead SAF Day Parade
Naval diver, Commando lead SAF Day Parade

Meet LTC Roger Cheong and MWO Eng Yew Kiang, the two elite soldiers who are leading this year’s SAF Day Parade. One is a naval diver while the other is from the Commando Formation.

Longest-Running SG-US Exercise Returns to S'pore After 2 Years
Longest-Running SG-US Exercise Returns to S'pore After 2 Years

The quiet of the morning is shattered by the explosion of machine guns and assault rifles. The tall grasses part as infantry soldiers from the Unites States (US) Army, who had been lying in wait, bash through the thick vegetation.

Guardsman, Father, Role Model
Cover story
Guardsman, Father, Role Model

This Father's Day, PIONEER finds out how a former Guards Formation Sergeant Major indirectly inspired his son to sign on, and how he runs a strict regime both in camp and at home.

Commando, doctor & national hurdler Feature
Commando, doctor & national hurdler

This 27-year-old commando medical officer did Singapore proud by winning a silver medal in 110m hurdles at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam in May – this was Singapore's first medal at the event since 1989.