Singapore Guards

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Singapore Guards Formation
Singapore Guards Emblem.png
Singapore Guards Official Emblem
Active January 1975 - Present
Country Singapore
Branch Singaporean Army
Type Elite Infantry
Role Air Assault, Coastal Operations, Heli Operations, RDF Operations, Raids
Size Three battalions (2 Conscripts, 1 Regular)
Part of HQ Guards
Garrison/HQ Bedok Camp II Complex (1 Guards and 3 Guards)
Dieppe Barracks (HQ Guards)
Nee Soon Camp (1 ADF)
Nickname The Elite Guards
Motto Ready to Strike
March The Guards March
Commanders
Current
commander
BG. Desmond Tan
Notable
commanders
Col. D.R. Jambu,[1] COL David Neo, COL Kwan Yue Yeong, BG Goh Kee Nguan, COL Nelson Yau Thain Hock, COL Bernard Tan, COL Ong Yu Lin, BG Tung Yui Fai, COL Mark Tan Ken-Li
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Guards Tab, Khaki Beret with Cap Badge

In the Singapore Armed Forces, the Guards are an elite infantry formation specializing in rapid deployment. Guards are known as elite heliborne troopers. They are well trained in heliborne operations and specialist combat skills that give them an added combat edge. They are proficient in heli-rappelling, heli-landing, and other specialised skills that allow them to carry out heliborne operations in various terrain, day and night. They are specially trained thus earning them the respect and status in the Singapore Armed Forces. The formation traces its roots back to the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade and has been actively involved in several National and Army Day events since the establishment of the modern Guards unit.

History[edit]

The formation was initially formed on 1 January 1975 as the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade (SIB), with a total personnel strength of four officers and five Other Ranks.[1][2] The Brigade took command of the Infantry Training Depot (ITD) on 1 January 1976 and the 7th and 8th Battalions of the Singapore Infantry Regiment (SIR) on 9 February 1976. On 1 July 1976, the 7 SIB was officially declared operational.[1] In view of its operational role, the ITD was removed from the Brigade and the Singapore Armed Forces Guards Unit (SAFGU) was added to the 2 remaining battalions.[1][2]

On 1 July 1977, the SAFGU was renamed as the 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards. A year later on 1 April 1978, the 8 SIR became the 2nd Battalion, Singapore Guards.[3] The 7 SIB was officially accorded Elite Status on 1 April 1978. With the award of elite status, the 7 SIR was transferred to the 3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade in 1978, leaving the 7 SIB with the following sub-units:

This make-up lasted until 1980, when it was decided to make the 7 SIB into an all guards formation. The Commando units were transferred out, and the 7 SIR returned to the 7 SIB. It was renamed as 3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards.[3]

On 17 Dec 1991, the 7th Brigade Training School (7 BTS) came under the command of the 7 SIB. However, from Sept 1996, all Basic Military Training (BMT) were taken over by Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC), and the 7 BTS was closed down. 11 Oct 1994 marked the formalisation of Guards as the Guards Formation.[2]

On 6 Apr 1979, a special parade was held to present the beret with a new Cap Badge Backing to the 7 SIB. The then Chief of General Staff (CGS), MG (NS) Winston Choo, explained that the backing was designed for the use of the Guardsmen as a symbol of elitism.[2] The three battalions received their first Colours 11 Jun 1983. All Guardsmen wear a "Guards" Tab on their left shoulder sleeve. The "Guards" Tab was presented to the Guardsmen on 23 Jun 1989 as a form of recognition of their elite status. On 9 June 1994, the Khaki Beret was presented to the Guards Formation. While the infantry green beret was worn with the Cap Badge Backing previously, all Guardsmen have since donned their distinctive Guards Khaki Beret with a deep sense of pride.[2]

Role[edit]

A Guardsman and a member of the New Zealand Defence Force man a cordon around the CBD in the aftermath of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

As an elite formation, the brigade is called to fight in certain areas, such as urban locations with FIBUA (Fighting in Built Up Areas)[4] and FOFO (Fighting On Fortified Objectives)[5] tactics. Trained in amphibious warfare, Guards units may also be tasked to seize important objectives such as airfields, beach heads, depots as well as enemy strongholds, thereby establishing a foothold for the rest of the army.

In the continually evolving 3rd Generation SAF, the spectrum of Operations that the Guards formation are involved in has been extended to include non-war related operations (OOTW - Operations Other Than War) such as HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) Operations as well as PSOs (Peace Support Operations). As evident in the recent disasters such as the Asian Tsunami Disaster of 2004, the Guards formation has been at the forefront of providing a quick response platform to humanitarian operations. This is entrenched and complementary to the Guards Formation's role as a quick reactionary force. However, the Guards Formation's role is integral and complementary to the role of the other formations in such peace-time theatres of operations.

The Guards formation is also called upon to react to counter-terrorism operations such as the 2008 Mas Selamat escape, in which the Guards Battalion was activated to cordon and assist in the search for the fugitive suspect.

Training[edit]

The Guards are infantry soldiers who are proficient in helicopter operations.[6] All Guardsmen are taught and trained to be comfortable working with helicopters. They are proficient in Terminal Air Guidance, in the setting up of landing sites as well as communicating with the pilots.

To achieve such high standards, trainees are put through some of the most rigorous training within the Singapore Armed Forces. To be worthy of donning the coveted "Guards" shoulder tab and the Khaki beret, trainees have to go through the gruelling Guards Conversion Course (GCC) for Officers & Specialists. The enlisted men go through the Guards Advanced Infantry Training (GAIT) to earn their mark as Guardsmen. [7] These conversion courses signify the conversion from regular infantry to the elite Guardsmen and push every soldier physically and mentally to the limit. Only those who qualify will be given the right to be called a "Guardsman", wearing the coveted khaki beret. In Dec 2011, the Ministry of Defence (Singapore) released a 7-part web series on the Guards Conversion Course, titled Making The Cut: Guards Conversion Course.

Part of the conversion requires the soldier to undergo a timed 12 km fast march, a 2 km coastal swim and an advanced obstacle course known as the Guards Assault Course (GAC). The GAC is a team course that requires the group of soldiers to swim 50 meters, to climb a high tower, rappel down a tower and complete a 5 km run with a standard SAF obstacle course and carry an "injured" teammate on a stretcher for the last 1.5 kilometers. The entire course is done in full battle order (FBO) with packs packed with sandbags to reach the required weight requirement. Guardsmen are also required to maintain a strict physical fitness regime throughout their careers.

The Guards are trained to be inserted and extracted from the combat zone by helicopter, hence the term "heliborne". They can do this either by rapid disembarkation while the helicopter is landing, or by "rappelling" (descending by rope while the helicopter hovers) and fast roping straight into battle zones, or onto rooftops.[6] As a nice landing area may not always be available, the Guards have to master many kinds of rappelling from cliffs and buildings.[8] In one method, they come down a cliff head-downwards. In case they are wounded in a leg and cannot use their legs to brace themselves against the cliff face, they also learn to come down with their backs facing the cliff, and also in a stretcher.[8] Another dangerous method, but at times necessary for a fast and decisive strike, would be "running" down a cliff. This method is known as the "Australian rappel".[9]

Guards are also specialised in seaborne assault such as coastal hook, which is an offensive manoeuvre initiated by army forces and executed by forces embarked in surface water craft using the coastal sea or river as an axis of movement, to outflank the enemy in order to accomplish the assigned tactical mission.

Equipment[edit]

Singapore Guardsmen and U.S. Marines examine a SAR-21 prior to a joint small-arms live-fire exercise during CARAT 2009.
Spider LSV with SPIKE ATGM launcher extended.

Weapons[edit]

The Guards utilize all small arms known to be in use with the Singaporean army, such as the SAR-21 assault rifle family, the Ultimax 100 Mark 3 LMG,[10] FN MAG,[10] M203,[10] and the Matador anti-tank rocket launcher.

Vehicles[edit]

Apart from the helicopters, the Guards also utilize The Spider Light Strike Vehicle (LSV), a lightweight vehicle that is extremely mobile and agile procured by the Army to replace the jeeps which formerly carried their 106 mm recoilless guns.[11] Manufactured in Australia based on an American design, the vehicle is able to traverse difficult terrain, and provide greater mobility and added firepower to the Guardsmen and Infantry soldiers.[11] Weighing 1,500 kg, the LSV can be rapidly deployed by slinging it underneath a helicopter and inserting it into enemy territory.

In 2008, the Guards formation began to utilize the PLUV (Protected Light Utility Vehicle) which is an armoured version of the Ford Everest, the Ford Everest is also a replacement vehicle for the aging Land Rovers.

The LSV, which can move at a maximum speed of 110 km/h,[12] significantly enhances the mobility of soldiers. The soldiers can now bring heavier and better firepower systems into operations.

Symbols of the Guards[edit]

Ready To Strike - Motto of Guards, to be ever prepared to strike against enemy forces[13]

The Wings - Represent the guards heliborne capabilities

Bayonet & Laurel - Symbols of guards superior skills as infantry soldiers[13]

Gold Color Foreground - Loyalty to the nation, devotion to duty and dedication to the task set before us[13]

Maroon Backdrop - Brotherhood and esprit de corps within the formation[13]

Khaki Beret - Instituted on 9 June 1994 as a mark of Distinction as Guardsmen Vocationalists.

Beret Backing - Presented on 6 August 1979 as a symbol of the Guards' status as Elite infantry Soldiers. It is worn by everyone who is currently serving within the formation.

Guards Tab - On 23 June 1989, BG(NS) Boey Tak Hup, presented the Guards Tab to 7SIB. Worn on the left sleeve to identify the soldier with skill sets unique to Guardsmen soldiers.

Stable Belt - Presented on 31 July 1980 to the men of 7SIB by LG(Ret) Winston Choo (then MG and CGS). It used to be worn with the Temasek Green uniforms but was respectively withdrawn from service when the new camouflage uniforms were introduced.

Guards Creed[edit]

The Guard's Creed details the values and motto of the Guards Formation "Ready To Strike" It also showcases the rapid deployment nature of the Guards formation as well as the Elite Status conferred upon them.

WE are GUARDSMAN WARRIORS.
Resolute in loyalty, Steadfast in commitment.
We fight for our country, our Home and our Family.

Land warriors from Air and Sea,
Unfailing in Toughness,
Valiant in our Actions.
We destroy all foes who challenge our Mission.

We are ELITE warriors,
With Daring Initiative,
We Rule the Day,
And we Rule the Night!
Always Ready!
Ready to Strike!

[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Unofficial Singapore Guards' History Page 1. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e The Singapore Army - Guards - History. Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b . Unofficial Singapore Guards' History Page 2. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  4. ^ Unofficial Singapore Guards FIBUA Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  5. ^ Unofficial Singapore Guards FOFO Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  6. ^ a b Official MINDEF Guards Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  7. ^ [1] Retrieved on 1 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b Unofficial Singapore Guards Rappelling and Roping Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  9. ^ 1980 - Singapore Guards - Elite Warriors of the SAF. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  10. ^ a b c Unofficial Singapore Guards Weapons Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  11. ^ a b Unofficial Singapore Guards LSV Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  12. ^ Equipment Page, Official MINDEF Guards Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  13. ^ a b c d Motto/Insignia Section, Official MINDEF Guards Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  14. ^ Unofficial Singapore Guards Creed Page. Retrieved on 8 January 2008.

External links[edit]