Behind the Scenes of Rifle Precision DrillsIt takes hours of training for these military police to bring sharp precision and coordination to the Changing of Guards ceremony at the Istana.
Producer / Thrina Tham
Photographer / Chua Soon Lye
Cameraman / Vince Sia & Ajay Prashad
The Silent Precision Drill Squad (SPDS) are a crowd favourite as the perform at the Changing of Guards (COG) ceremony at the Istana, alongside the Istana Ceremonial Guards and SAF Band.
As their name suggests, the squad performs synchronised drills silently without command. Their daring throws and deft execution project a disciplined image, while thrilling audience members.
The SPDS are a specialised platoon from the SAF Military Police Command’s Military Police Enforcement Unit. Each member goes through a month-long Basic SPDS course to earn their place in the squad.
Their training for the Istana COG ramps up about two weeks before the ceremony, where they train for up to five hours daily on top of other duties.
Here’s a look at their training as they prepare for the 2 Apr COG ceremony:
When the squad marches in. The SPDS guards train for their marching from Koek Road into the Istana main gate.
Coordination and focus are key to the performance, said platoon commander Second Lieutenant Callum Josh Franzman. "You may be proficient in your drills, but if you cannot perform in time with the entire squad then the performance will fall apart."
Corporal Tong Teck Wee rehearsing his solo component. "It takes a lot of practice to memorise and execute the moves; and concentration to not get distracted by the audience," said the Presidential Guard.
CPL Tong (right) tosses a drill rifle backwards as part of his solo drills.
The choreography, which changes frequently, features daring throws to thrill the crowd.