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Thousands observe SAF Day

Thousands observed Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day across Singapore, including SAF regulars, full-time NSmen, operationally ready National Servicemen and companies.

SINGAPORE: Some 3,000 Singapore Armed Forces regulars, operationally ready National Servicemen and full-time NSmen observed SAF Day on Tuesday evening (July 1). President Tony Tan Keng Yam officiated the parade at SAFTI Military Institute.

Servicemen recited the SAF pledge, reaffirming their commitment to the defence of Singapore. A minute's silence was also observed, in memory of SAF personnel who had died in the line of duty. Dr Tan then presented the State Colours to this year's Best Combat Unit, the first Commando Battalion.

(Mindef photo: Lieutenant-Colonel Alvin Tjioe, Commanding Officer of the 1st Commando Battalion which won the Best Combat Unit award, receiving the State Colours from the President)

Meantime, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen handed out awards for Best Unit and Best National Service Units. 16 NSmen were also recognised as NSmen of the Year during a post-parade reception.

Earlier today, some 650 NSmen from more than 320 companies observed SAF Day across the island. The Defence Minister graced a rededication ceremony held by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) at ITE College Central. Other ceremonies were held at SAFRA Toa Payoh, SAFRA Jurong and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

(Mindef photo: Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen at an SAF Day rededication ceremony at ITE College Central)

Dr Ng called SMEs the "lifeblood of Singapore's economic resilience", and urged them not to underestimate their role in the nation's defence. He said SMEs employ many NSmen, who are tasked with protecting Singapore's sovereignty and way of life. Dr Ng cited recent unrest in Iraq, where even an ancient civilisation is in danger of falling apart and he said such a scenario could also happen to Singapore.

"If indeed there is a threat, and the button is pushed, as we say, and we mobilise, the SAF is made up of the majority of people who, like you and me, are sitting here. There is no first responder, you are the first responders. You look at every unit, who responds? The majority are NSmen."

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