The Safti Military Institute started out in a primary school, but has gone on to become a key institution of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and plays an important role in Singapore's security, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.
PM Lee, who was himself trained in the institute, lauded it for producing past and present military leaders who have built and transformed the SAF.
Speaking at the commissioning parade of a new batch of officers, he recalled how then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had said, at the first commissioning parade in 1967, that the SAF can make up for its lack of numbers by "the standards of discipline, training, dedication and leadership".
PM Lee said: "This has become part of the SAF's ethos and spirit, and enabled the SAF to perform its duties to keep Singapore safe and secure."
Safti, which now has a sprawling camp in Jurong, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Around 70 of its pioneer batch of 117 officers were at yesterday's parade.
PM Lee thanked them for volunteering as cadets at a time of great uncertainty, when Singapore had just separated from Malaysia. "The first batch knew what was at stake, and... persevered through blood, sweat and tears, out of a love for... this country."
This has inspired generations of officers, who have together built up the SAF from just two infantry battalions to today's tri-service fighting force with the latest equipment, technology and tactics, he said.
To the 547 new officers, he added: "It is your duty to ensure that Singapore will always be secure, so that your families, and all Singaporeans, can always be confident of our future together."