Volunteers as important as career soldiers

The new woman brigadier-general will definitely be an inspiration to our young girls and women to join the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and SAF Volunteer Corps ("SAF poster girl first woman to be promoted brigadier-general"; last Saturday).

Another encouraging piece of news is that the first batch of SAF volunteers, which included women, has completed its basic training ("First military volunteers complete basic training"; Sunday).

Wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said during World War II that the reservist (volunteer) is twice the citizen, and this can be applied to the Singapore context.

What makes volunteers special is that they are not coerced into the armed forces; they loyally and freely give their service to the nation.

History has shown time and again that Singapore volunteers are ever ready to do their job. During Konfrontasi with Indonesia in the 1960s, for example, the naval reservists included the Singapore Women's Auxiliary Naval Service (Swans), who stood ready to be deployed.

I hope the spirit of serving with pride will continue with the new SAF Volunteer Corps, and I wish all in the armed forces a happy SAF Day on July 1.

Adrian Villanueva