SINGAPORE: The 1st Commando Battalion has done it again, scooping up the Best Combat Unit award at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Best Unit Competition for the 14th consecutive year.
It has won the award 31 times since the introduction of the competition in 1969, an unprecedented feat for any unit, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said in a press release on Wednesday (Jun 28).
In total, 18 active units and 11 National Service (NS) units have been recognised in the awards for being the best in their respective formations.
The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s RSS Steadfast clinched the Best Fleet Unit award, while the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)’s 143 Squadron won the Best Fighter Squadron award.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen will present the awards to the winners at the SAF Day Parade on Saturday.
"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," MINDEF said of the 1st Commando Battalion.
The battalion's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ng Kiang Chuan, said the commanders and soldiers were adaptive to challenging situations.
"The effective training and values of professionalism, fighting spirit, and discipline cultivated in every commando have helped in a big way. We must continue to carry with us the commandos’ identity, in serving with a sense of purpose and ownership of our duty to the nation."
The RSS Steadfast, which won the Best Fleet Unit award for the first time, demonstrated "high operational readiness and excellent naval warfare competencies through its participation in numerous operations and exercises, such as Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC)", MINDEF said.
The ship's commanding officer, LTC Edwin Chen, attributed the achievement to his crew’s hard work and professionalism towards their mission.
"RSS Steadfast was the first non-US ship to lead a Multinational Group Sail for Exercise RIMPAC 2016, and successfully planned and executed surface warfare for 10 other ships as the Task Force Anti-Surface Warfare Commander. These achievements would not have been possible, if not for the crew’s competence and professionalism.”
While the 143 Squadron picked up the Best Fighter Squadron in 1989 and 1990, this year's win is the squadron's first while flying the F-16C/D multi-role fighter aircraft. It flew the A-4SU Super Skyhawk fighter jet the last two times, MINDEF said.
The squadron "conducts a wide spectrum of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, and maintains a high state of operational readiness to defend Singapore's skies", it added.
LTC Ong Teck Koon, 143 Squadron's commanding officer, said every air and ground crew member in his team "constantly strives to push boundaries and to achieve higher standards whether in flying operations, maintenance, or day-to-day administration".
"This year's win is attributable to the commitment and effort that everyone has put into every aspect of our work," he added.