Ground breaking Ceremony for the new SAFTI Military Institute #OnThisDay (9 Jun 1990)
📷: Photo by MINDEF.
#OnThisDay (9 Jun 1990), the ground-breaking ceremony for the new SAFTI Military Institute (SAFTI MI) at Upper Jurong Road was held. SAFTI MI traces its beginnings to the SAF Training Institute (SAFTI), Singapore’s first military school. Officially opened in Jun 1966 and housed in Pasir Laba Camp, it saw its first batch of commissioned section commanders graduating in November later that year. It continued to see batches of officers and cadets from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) pass through its ranks yearly for nearly three decades.
However, eventually, the original SAFTI school had to be replaced because it could no longer cope with a rapidly growing SAF. In his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony for SAFTI MI, then-PM Lee Kuan Yew also spoke of the importance of a specialised military school that generations of military officers and leaders would pass through:
“The spirit and traditions of military schools are represented by the buildings [that military leaders] lived and trained in. … The buildings speak to a new generation of men who pass through them, reminding them of sacrifices and deeds of those who came before them, and inspiring them to excellence in their service to the nation. They symbolise the spirit of the endeavour, past achievements, enduring traditions, and future challenges. … The SAF does not have such a set of buildings … for training SAF officers.”
Construction of SAFTI MI thus began in earnest in 1987 and received its first batch of trainees in 1995. Today, the institute occupies an area of 120,000 square metres and comprises buildings for the education and training of SAF leaders from all three services – the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
SAFTI MI also has various schools contained within the compound, the most famous of which is the Officer Cadet School (OCS), which a select group of Singapore’s young men go through as part of their National Service. Other schools which are less known (but no less important) are the SAF Advanced Schools (SAS), dedicated to the training of military experts, and the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College (GKSCSC), which prepares specially selected officers for senior command and staff appointments in the SAF.
Perhaps the most prominent landmark in SAFTI MI is the tri-service tower, which stands proudly over the parade square. Over 60-metres tall, the tower is triangular in shape and guarded by a pair of stone lions previously mounted at Merdeka Bridge. Another lesser known fact–but a very interesting one nonetheless–is that the tower has 265 steps, which represents the number of days cadets go through before being commissioned as officers.
With the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS)’s inauguration into the SAF, the SAFTI MI’s tri-service philosophy will evolve to fit the SAF’s new service structure, in keeping with the SAF’s spirit of adaptability and resilience in defending Singapore against new and rising threats in a tumultuous world.
Indeed, as SAFTI MI’s motto goes: “To Lead, To Excel, To Overcome!”
#OnThisDay #Singapore #SAF #HormatSAF #SAFTIMI #Army #RSN #RSAF #DIS