SAF kicks off year-long festivities to mark 50 years since its formation

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Armed Forces is pitching in with Singapore's 50th birthday celebrations by launching year-long festivities to commemorate its own golden jubilee.

From a public exhibition and an SAF50 book launch to an open house at the Istana, the roster of events aims to celebrate the SAF's identity and heritage, since it was formed on Aug 9, 1965.

The celebrations, anchored on the theme "Our SAF: Giving Strength To Our Nation", are also aimed at paying tribute to servicemen past and present, as well as the public, which gave its support.

Colonel Roland Ng, who is co-organising the SAF's birthday bash, said while many government agencies, firms and community groups are already doing something to mark Aug 9, very few can "claim that they started the journey together with Singapore".

Col Ng, director of the Defence Ministry's Total Defence and National Education department Nexus, added: "So every step of the way, the SAF has been with Singapore."

The celebrations kick off on Feb 12, with the SAF50@Vivo exhibition to be held at VivoCity mall.

The four-day show, which will be opened by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, will showcase military equipment from the army, navy and air force.

There will also be tours onboard an RSN landing ship tank and joyrides in the fast craft utility boat to the Southern Islands. Organisers will then take the exhibition to the heartlands until September.

Other staples in the SAF calendar, like the annual SAF Day Parade, will also be bigger than usual.

A key feature in the exhibition and SAF jubilee celebrations will be 70 stories about the SAF and the people who built it. Most of these, which include how the SAF is portrayed in pop culture and SAF's modernisation drive, will also be condensed in a commemorative book to be launched in July.

jermync@sph.com.sg