56 personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) were awarded the Overseas Service Medal (OSM) in recognition of their contributions towards the SAF's overseas operations. Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen presented the medals to the recipients at a ceremony held at Pasir Laba Camp this afternoon.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ng emphasised that Singapore remained committed in its contributions towards international peace and security. He said: "Singapore's contributions to these missions reflect our commitment as a responsible member of the international community, whether it is through the collective efforts for the global fight against terrorism or doing our part to bring peace and stability to troubled regions." Dr Ng also commended the medal recipients for their resilience and professionalism in overcoming the operational challenges. He added: "We also recognise that the missions that we undertake when we send our soldiers to these areas are difficult and come with operational risks. Rocket attacks and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) remain commonplace, but I am proud to say that our soldiers demonstrated skill, professionalism and resilience in carrying out their duties to enhance the security conditions in Afghanistan."
Among the medal recipients were 54 personnel who had been deployed to Afghanistan as part of Singapore's contribution to the multinational stabilisation and reconstruction efforts there. These included members of the National Command Element deployed in Kabul from Apr to Oct 2011 to provide in-theatre command and control and operational support for SAF personnel deployed in Afghanistan. It also included members of a 10-man team of military institutional trainers (MITs) who assisted in the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF's) effort to train the Afghan National Army at an artillery school in Kabul. Also receiving medals were members of two 6-man Imagery Analysis Teams (IATs) deployed in Oruzgan province to augment the ISAF's surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities from Mar to Jul 11 and Jun to Oct 11, respectively. In addition, two 13-man SAF medical teams provided emergency medical support to ISAF personnel and Afghan locals at the field hospital in Tarin Kowt from Apr to Aug 2011 and Jul to Oct 2011, respectively. In total, the medical teams attended to more than 500 emergency cases. The other medal recipients were included two officers deployed to Timor-Leste as part of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste from Sep 2010 to Sep 2011.
Noting that there remained important work to be done before ISAF could fully hand over security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces in 2014, Dr Ng also announced that the SAF would continue to contribute to the multinational efforts in Afghanistan next year. The SAF will deploy a five-man MIT team to Oruzgan from Feb to Nov 2012 to partner the Australian Defence Force in training the Afghan National Army commanders to detect and identify IEDs. The SAF will also be deploying two staff officers to the Combined Team-Oruzgan Headquarters from Jan to Dec 2012. In addition, the SAF will extend the deployment of the 10 MITs in the artillery school in Kabul and the six-man IAT in Oruzgan till Dec 2012.
Also present at the ceremony were family members of the medal recipients, as well as Chief of Army Major-General Ravinder Singh, Chief of Air Force Major-General Ng Chee Meng, along with other senior officers from the SAF.