Singapore Guards Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_Guards

Singapore Guards
Singapore Guards Emblem.png
Active1 January 1975 – present
Country Singapore
Branch Singapore Army
TypeMaritime land force
Size3 battalions (1 regular, 2 conscripts)
Part ofSingapore Armed Forces
Garrison/HQBedok Camp II Complex
Dieppe Barracks
Nee Soon Camp
Nickname(s)"The Elite Guards", "Singapore Marines"
Motto(s)"Ready to Strike"
Colour of Beret  Khaki
MarchThe Guards March
Chief Guards OfficerBrigadier General Low Wilson
Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong
Brigadier-General Desmond Tan

The Singapore Guards is the maritime land formation of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) responsible for conducting rapid deployment, heliborne and amphibious operations.


The formation was formed on 1 January 1975 as the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade (SIB), with a total personnel strength of four officers and five men.[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, 7th SIB was declared operational.[1] In view of its operational role, the ITD was removed from the brigade and the Singapore Armed Forces Guards Unit (SAFGU), raised in the late 1960s, was added to the two remaining battalions.[1][2] SAFGU had been formed in that time as the SAF's first years on the basis of parts of the battalions of the Singapore Infantry Regiment, and most of its former public duties roles were now SAFGU's responsibility as the official guards of the Istana.

On 1 July 1977, SAFGU was renamed as 1st Battalion, Singapore Guards. A year later on 1 April 1978, 8 SIR became 2nd Battalion, Singapore Guards.[1] 7th SIB was accorded their designation as elite troopers on 1 April 1978. Following that designation, 7th SIR was moved to the 3rd Singapore Infantry Brigade in 1978, leaving 7th SIB with the following sub-units:

  • 1st Guards Battalion
  • 2nd Guards Battalion
  • 1st Commando Battalion
  • 10th Commando Battalion
  • School of Commando Training

This arrangement lasted until 1980, when 7th SIB was re-organized into a formation consisting of Guardsmen only. The Commando battalions became independent, and 7th SIR returned to the grouping. It was renamed 3rd Battalion, Singapore Guards.[1]

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

On 6 April 1979, a parade was held to present berets with a new cap badge backing to 7th SIB. Then-Chief of the General Staff (CGS), MG Winston Choo, explained that the backing was a designation of the Guardsmen's new status as elite troopers.[2] The three battalions received their first Colours 11 June 1983. All Guardsmen wear a "Guards" tab on their left sleeve. The tab was presented to the Guardsmen on 23 June 1989 in recognition of their elite designation. On 9 June 1994, the distinctive khaki beret was presented to the formation. Whereas previously Guardsmen wore green berets, all Guardsmen since have worn khaki.[2]

As a Guards formation, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were formerly also charged with public duties in the Istana until that role was passed on in the 1980s to the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command.


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.

Guardsmen are tasked to fight in challenging terrain for key objectives, notably in urban locations (FIBUA – Fighting in Built Up Areas)[3] and fortified terrain (FOFO – Fighting On Fortified Objectives).[4]


Guardsmen are infantry proficient in heliborne operations.[5]

Training is rigorous. Before qualifying as full-fledged Guardsmen, trainee officers and specialists undergo a grueling Guards Conversion Course (GCC). Enlisted men complete Guards Vocational Training (GVT) to earn their mark as Guardsmen.[6]

Guardsmen are trained for heliborne insertions into combat zones. They can do this either by rapid disembarkation while the helicopter is landing, or by rappelling from a hovering helicopter, or fast-roping straight onto rooftops.[5] As landing zones may be hostile, Guardsmen train in various forms of combat rappelling.[7] This may involve rappelling head-first. They also train for exigencies. If, due to an injury they are unable to brace themselves against a cliff face, they may be required to rappel unconventionally, with their backs facing the cliff, or with a stretcher.[7] Other methods include "running" down a cliff face, also known as the "Australian rappel".[8]


Singapore Guardsmen and US Marines examine a SAR-21 prior to a joint small-arms live-fire exercise during CARAT 2009.
Light Strike Vehicle with SPIKE ATGM launcher extended.
Light Strike Vehicle during Army Open House in 2022.


The Guards utilize all small arms known to be in use within the Singapore Army, such as the SAR-21 assault rifle family, the SIG Sauer P226 pistol, the Ultimax 100 Mark 3 LMG, FN MAG, and M203.[9]


Apart from the helicopters, the Guards also utilize the Light Strike Vehicle (LSV), a lightweight vehicle that is extremely mobile and agile. It was procured by the Army in 1998 to replace the jeeps which formerly carried their 106mm recoil-less guns.[10] (The LSV,can move at a maximum speed of 110 km/h.[11])

Symbols of the Guards[edit]

Ready To Strike – Motto of the guards, to be ever prepared to strike against enemy forces[12]

The Wings – Represent the guards' heliborne capabilities

Bayonet & Laurel – Symbols of guards' superior skills as infantry soldiers[12]

Gold Color Foreground – Loyalty to the nation, devotion to duty and dedication to the task set before us[12]

Maroon Backdrop – Brotherhood and esprit de corps within the formation[12]

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 7th SIB. 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 7th SIB by LG(Ret) Winston Choo (then MG and CGS). It used to be worn with the Temasek Green uniforms but was withdrawn from service when the new camouflage uniforms were introduced.

The Guards Creed[edit]


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!



  1. ^ a b c d e [1] Archived 13 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d e "The Singapore Army – Guards – History". Totaldefence.sg. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  3. ^ [2] Archived 23 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ [3] Archived 7 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b "The Singapore Army – Guards". Mindef.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 3 October 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  6. ^ "File Not Found" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b [4] Archived 29 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Foo-Tan, Germaine (19 April 2006). "1980 – Singapore Guards – Elite Warriors of the SAF". mindef.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 26 June 2007.
  9. ^ [5] Archived 29 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [6] Archived 5 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The Singapore Army – Guards – Equipment". Mindef.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 17 December 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d "The Singapore Army – Guards – Motto/Insignia". Mindef.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  13. ^ [7] Archived 28 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]