SAFVC turns 5, volunteer force 900-strong

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17 Feb 2020 | COMMUNITY

SAFVC turns 5, volunteer force 900-strong

The formation marked its fifth anniversary this Total Defence Day.

// Report by Thrina Tham

// Photos by PIONEER photographers

The very first SAFVC cohort marking the end of their Basic Training with a Beret Presentation Parade on 27 Jun 2015.
English 华文

Since the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) opened its doors to non-National Service-liable Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, people from all walks of life have signed up for the uniformed volunteer scheme.

These SAFVC Volunteers, or SVs, contribute to national defence alongside the SAF's Regulars and national servicemen.

Here are five things to know about the formation as it turns five this year:

SVs marching at the 2019 National Day Parade as part of the first-ever Volunteer Contingent.

1. It is a 900-strong force of citizen soldiers

The SAFVC has more than 900 volunteers today - about four times the 226 volunteers in its inaugural intake in 2015.

The volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and various nationalities. The youngest SV, 19, is a female university student who was from India and is now a new citizen. The oldest, 51, is a Malaysia-born new citizen who works as an assistant general manager.

An SV Auxiliary Security Trooper (right) supporting security operations by performing personnel checks at a military camp.

2. There are 35 vocations in the SAFVC

The SAFVC started with 17 vocations in 2015. There are now 35 vocations today, after five roles were added last year.

The new roles include Physiotherapist Assistant, Veterinarian Technician, Auxiliary Trainer (Drone), Sea Soldier and Video Surveillance Operator.

An SV Bridge Watchkeeper reporting to the Officer of the Watch on potential hazards and other vessels while the ship is out at sea.

3. 8,000 man-days of deployment clocked

Since the SAFVC's inception, SVs have served over 8,000 man-days across 178 deployments to support the SAF's operations and training.

SVs can typically be called up to serve for 14 days each year. The pioneer batch of SVs have served in roles including Auxiliary Security Trooper, Bridge Watchkeeper and Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) Expert.

The SAFVC logo was inspired by the rich heritage of the SVC.

4. Five years since SAFVC was formed

Since the SAFVC welcomed its first batch of volunteers, it has celebrated its Formation Day every Total Defence Day, which falls on 15 February. The day reminds Singaporeans that everyone can play a part to build a strong, secure and cohesive nation.

While 2020 marks the formation's fifth anniversary, this is not the first time that Singapore has seen a corps of volunteer soldiers.

Established in the 1850s, the Singapore Volunteer Corps (SVC) - or Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps as it was known then - was one of the earliest official volunteer organisations, and was formed to deal with the outbreak of riots between Chinese secret societies at the time.

In fact, the SAFVC logo is inspired by the SVC crest, retaining its circular shield, banner and laurel - which together with the lion - portray power and courage. The lion's statant posture, with its head facing forward and tail curved over its back, symbolises steadfastness and vigilance.

There are five ranks in the SAFVC rank structure.

5. Rising the ranks

There are five ranks in the SAFVC (which are not pegged to the SAF rank structures). After completion of their basic and qualification training, an SV (Trainee) will be promoted to the SV1 rank.

With this, the SV is ready for deployments to support national servicemen. Based on their years of service, performance and conduct, SVs can be promoted up to the SV4 rank!

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