This Singapore Armed Day (SAF) Day, 255 Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) from 110 companies came together to reaffirm their commitment to the nation’s defence at the University Cultural Centre (UCC), as part of the SAF Day Combined Rededication Ceremonies held in four locations across the island.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen officiated the East Zone rededication ceremony organised by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation at the UCC, where he delivered the SAF Day message.
"The strength of the SAF today is a tribute and testament to the men and women of the SAF, including more than one million NSmen who have done their duty year after year," said Dr Ng.
"Together, we have forged an SAF that is an advanced, modern fighting force – one that we can all be proud of to protect Singapore."
"On this SAF Day, I thank each of you for keeping Singapore safe and secure."
Leading the recitation of the SAF pledge at the East Zone rededication ceremony was Captain (CPT) (NS) Brian Wong from Headquarters 56th Singapore Armoured Brigade.
Recalling one of his first few In-Camp Training (ICT) sessions, he mentioned that his unit was usually the first one to report back for ICT, and among the last to leave.
"During one ICT, there was a division exercise, and we were required to do 24-hour shifts for close to a week," said the 36-year-old Staff Officer. "Even though we had to pull all-nighters, it was exciting to witness all the actual setups and procedures being used outfield."
Asked how he felt about attending the SAF rededication ceremony, the General Manager of Tacum Steel Pte Ltd said: "It serves as a timely reminder of the importance of defending Singapore."
Fellow NSman CPT (NS) Darren Ho, a Situational Test (SITEST) Instructor from the Defence Psychology Department, said that National Service (NS) had given him a new perspective on life.
"NS shapes us into better people – we learn to work as a team and look out for other people, and we understand that our own actions have an impact on other people as well."
"The camaraderie, friendship and bonds I formed during my active NS days as well as ICT are truly amazing."
The 37-year-old Assistant Director and Team Lead of Digital Operations Centre from Sports Singapore is also thankful to his company for supporting him whenever he goes for ICT.
"(I don’t face that challenge of facing an overwhelming amount of work) when I come back from ICT," explained CPT (NS) Ho. "It takes a lot of good planning from the management (and I’m grateful they plan ahead to) make it easy for us employees when we go for ICT."
Another NSman at the UCC rededication ceremony was Lieutenant (LTA) (NS) Santosh Anand Yadav, a Radar Battery Officer from the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s 3rd Divisional Air Defence Artillery Battalion.
An Executive Engineer at the Building and Construction Authority, the 27-year-old is a strong believer that NS plays an important role in ensuring the defence of Singapore.
"NS has allowed me to mature from a boy to a man, and I became a lot more responsible. I’m sure that every Singaporean male will also go through this process, and it will benefit them in the long run."
The three other rededication ceremonies were held at Temasek Polytechnic, Trade Association Hub and Gateway Theatre.
Later in the evening, President Halimah Yacob officiated at the SAF Day Parade held at SAFTI Military Institute (SAFTI MI), where she presented the State Colours to 1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn), which clinched the Best Combat Unit for the 33rd time.
Dr Ng presented 29 Best Unit and Best NS Unit awards at the SAF Day Parade as well.