Friday 15 June 2012

NDP 2012 marks 45 years of National Service

By Hetty Musfirah, Channel NewsAsia, 13 Jun 2012

Singapore will commemorate 45 years of National Service at this year's National Day Parade, which will feature many firsts for national servicemen.

It will be the first parade to feature a special marching segment in which a 140-strong full-time national servicemen contingent, including personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Home Team, will march out from the spectator stands at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.

They will march some 100 steps down the seating gallery before joining other marching contingents at the floating platform.

It will also be the first National Day Parade where NSmen from the SAF will don the new pixelised combat uniforms.

This year's parade is also the first time since 2007 that an NSman, 45-year-old Lieutenant Colonel (NS) Clarence Tan, has been selected to be the parade commander.

"The rehearsal started for me way back last year as a reserve parade commander. It's given me quite a lot of opportunities to further perfect my individual drills, as well as my commands," LTC Tan said.

More than 2,000 participants from 32 marching contingents will be involved in the parade. They include 12 civilian contingents, the highest number in NDP history.

They will march to the tune of "A Nation's March", a piece specially composed by another NSman, Syawaludin Kassim.

"I think back to my NS days and there were good moments, bad moments and a lot of memories. From there, I managed to draw a picture and that's where the song comes from, as A Nation's March," Kassim said.

While there are still months to go before August 9, preparations are already underway.

To commemorate 45 years of National Service, there will also be a special "Salute to NS45" segment where spectators will be wowed by a land, sea and air display.

Chairman of the parade and ceremony Colonel Roland Ng shared what the audience can expect from this year's parade.

"This year, we will retain the traditional elements that Singaporeans like. At the same time, we introduce special moments and new elements that remind Singaporeans the importance of defending our country, the Singapore we love," he said.

There will also be the usual crowd pleasers, such as the fly-past of the state flag and the presidential gun salute.

High-speed spectacular for NS tribute
NDP act will ramp up difficulty level for performers across air, sea, land
By Lim Yan Liang, The Straits Times, 21 Jun 2012

IT WILL be one heart-stopping moment after another for spectators - if not for the performers too - at this year's National Day Parade (NDP).

Fighter jets will criss-cross each other, boats will charge at high speed towards the stands and more than 2,000 parade participants will advance towards spectators in unison in a new 10-minute segment.

Ramping up the difficulty level for performers across air, sea and land is a way of paying tribute to the more than 900,000 men who have gone through national service in the last 45 years.

In past parades, the crowds enjoyed the feu de joie, or rifle tribute, which closes the parade segment, but this year, that will be followed by all 32 contingents marching 10 steps forward, and then saluting national servicemen past and present.

The high-speed boats zipping across Marina Bay will be a pair of Police Coast Guard interceptor craft, flanked by four Republic of Singapore Navy Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), firing blanks. Sirens will wail as the interceptors perform sharp turns just metres from the floating platform.

The RHIBs will create heart- shaped waves in their wake, then race towards the audience at top speed. They will then pull to an abrupt stop, causing their bows to dip forward in a sea salute, and sending columns of water into the air.

As the boats exit, four F-16D Block 52+ jets will fly in from behind the Marina Bay Sands convention centre in formation. As they near the platform, the two pairs of aircraft will cross each other's flight paths.

Two more jets will then emerge and soar through the air, leaving a V-shaped smoke trail.

A single F-15SG will then perform a move straight out of Hollywood dogfight movies - a sharp bank that will tilt it 90 degrees. It will then fly in an arc around the towers of the Marina Bay Sands before zooming over Suntec City.

Ending the display, two more F-15SGs will go into a vertical climb to about 3,000m and disappear into the heavens, leaving behind the roar from their afterburners.

Colonel Francis Ngooi, who chairs the air-participation committee, said it will be the first time these four air manoeuvres will be carried out over Marina Bay, which gives the pilots airspace about a quarter of that in a typical combat mission.

Captain Alvin Leow, 29, a first-time NDP participant who will fly an F-15SG in the vertical climb, is shooting for a visual spectacular. He said: 'We do get used to the tall buildings and we have integrated rehearsals before the actual day.'


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