The 1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn) has clinched the SAF's overall Best Combat Unit for the 17th consecutive time. The Commando Battalion has chalked up an unprecedented 34 wins since the introduction of the SAF Best Unit Competition in 1969. Trained to operate deep within enemy territory, the SAF Commandos are renowned for their proficiency in specialised operations such as airborne operations, reconnaissance, and raid missions. Commanding Officer (CO) of 1 Cdo Bn, LTC Fabian Pwi said, "Winning the Best Combat Unit is an honour we look forward to celebrating. However, it is more important that each commando knows that we have given our best in the process regardless the outcome. This is the commando mantra."
A total of 17 other active units and 11 National Service (NS) units are also recognised for being the best in their respective formations. In recognition of their achievement, 1 Cdo Bn will have the State Colours presented to them during the decentralised SAF Day Ceremony, which will be livestreamed from the SAFTI Military Institute on 1 July 2020. The other Best Unit and Best National Service Unit awards will be awarded in separate ceremonies officiated by the respective Service Chiefs. Among the formation winners are the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s RSS Vigour (Best Fleet Unit) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)'s 143 Squadron (Sqn) (Best Fighter Squadron).
This is the fourth time that the RSN's Victory-class Missile Corvette RSS Vigour has clinched the Best Fleet Unit, having last won the award in 2016. RSS Vigour is part of the RSN's strike force and maintains a high level of combat capabilities to perform quick attacks on enemy ships and aircraft. During last year's edition of Exercise Bersama Lima, RSS Vigour commanded a task group involving various nations and was the warfare commander in the anti-surface and anti-air exercise serials. RSS Vigour also successfully deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle from the warship during the 40th Anniversary of Exercise Pelican. Commanding Officer of RSS Vigour, LTC Loy Shing Tong said, "It is the people who form the backbone of RSS Vigour's success. I am glad to have the honour and privilege to lead a team who is 100 per cent ready for the mission."
The RSAF's 143 Sqn has won the Best Fighter Squadron for the fourth time. It is the squadron's second win while operating the F-16C/D multi-role fighter aircraft, the first was in 2017. In 1989 and 1990, the squadron won the Best Fighter Squadron while operating the A-4SU Super Skyhawk fighter jet. 143 Sqn conducts a wide spectrum of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, and maintains a high level of operational readiness to support air defence operations. This includes responding expeditiously to the bomb threat on the Singapore Airlines flight SQ423 and escorting it to land safely in 2019. 143 Sqn also actively participates in various local and overseas exercises, such as Exercise Bersama Shield and Exercise Bersama Lima, to sharpen its operational and combat edge. CO of 143 Sqn, MAJ Norman Teo said, "I am honoured to serve alongside dedicated and resilient personnel who have always given their best. Each individual understands and performs his role professionally, and when synergised together, enables our squadron to achieve mission success and maintain high operational standards."
The annual SAF Best Unit and Best NS Unit Competitions were introduced in 1969 and 1993 respectively to recognise units that have excelled in the areas of combat readiness, operational proficiency and administrative excellence. These units are assessed based on a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process over the past year. The competitions also serve to enhance mission excellence, professionalism and camaraderie among servicemen in the SAF units.