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Sunday, July 14, 2024


Should Guards be considered Elite?


Full disclosure, I was a Guardsman (1GDS) 15th Mono. I wish to start a discussion about if Guards are deserving to be called ELITE and WHY? Especially compared to the “normal” infantry?

In the only other 2 elite vocations in the SAF, Commandos and Naval Divers, there’s an assessment and selection (VA) before being allowed to join while anyone combat fit can become a Guardsman.

You can’t sign on to the other 2 units unless you’re already posted there in NS. It also takes a Commando one year to earn the Red Beret while GCC for Officers and Specs take 3 weeks and 6 weeks for men, called GAIT (Guards Advanced Infantry Training), to get their Khaki Beret and Tab, which is exactly the same as regular infantry AIT except with the extra things thrown in.

Even their main schtik with the heli rappelling is only done ONCE in your whole career during GCC. After that everytime we get off a heli is by walking out of it (any guardsmen can confirm this).


I don’t know why people compare Guards to Commandos when they’re leagues ahead. They can also heli rappel and swim along with much more.

Basically anything a Guardsman can do a Commando can too. Guards are exactly the same as infantry. 3 rifle Coy, 1 Support Coy. PTP/BMT> GAIT/AIT> get beret> start rotation training. Even the pay is exactly the same.

There’s other SIRs who’ve been deployed by helicopters as well and others who’ve also done costal hooks. Unlike CDOs the elite infantry cannot even win the (2nd prize behind best combat unit) that is “Best Infantry Unit” consistently.

Do you think Guards should be considered Elite when they’re basically just regular infantymen with a different mission profile.

I’m aware of the necessity of a unit like Guards, I’m just asking if they should be one of the only 3 officially designated elite units in the whole SAF since almost anyone can join and they’re really the same as the regular infantry.


In fact you cannot even sign on to be a Commando or Diver unless you were already posted there in NS. To my brothers in Khaki especially, do you think we belong in the same league as the Commandos or Divers?

I personally do think we’re special because of our rapid deployment expeditionary role striking from air and sea and they should pay us more, just that any SIR can probably do what we do too

Netizens’ comments

  • The whole “Guards is elite unit” thing is basically for morale and regimentation purpose to differentiate the role of Guards battalions as infantry with specialised air assault (helicopter insertion) capability. Guards, Infantry and Armour Infantry are essentially all infantry with different methods of transportation (Helicopter/Light Strike Vehicle, Terrex, Bionix/Hunter etc). In war time these 3 formations will be the ones fighting in the frontline supported by artillery, air defence and the rest of the army behind them, whereas commandos role is to infiltrate behind enemy lines to disrupt and harass enemy operations
  • For me, I would classify frontline fighting forces into different tiers:
    Tier 1: SOTF (elite CDO/NDU) and SPF STAR
    Tier 2: Rest of CDO, NDU and SPF SOC
    Tier 3: Guards formation
    Tier 4: Regular infantry and other elements like IDTF
    I wouldn’t say it’s entirely inaccurate to call Guards “elite” in the sense that they’re a more specialised and trained segment of the general force structure.
    But at the same time, they’re still an integrated part of the combined arms setup (but just focusing on air assault), kinda like the US 82nd Airborne Div or the Soviet/Russian VDV. You won’t usually see Guards being deployed behind frontlines for independent strikes/recon/special missions.
  • No.
    Guards are Shock Troops.
    They’re not elite but they’re the ones that go into infantry battle first.
    Then your normal infantry comes in to support the shock troops.
    Guards are like the USMC.
  • Full disclaimer: I’m not sure what is “officially” considered elite or not, so I’ll judge based on what I’ve seen.
    I’ve noticed that u’ve constantly compared guards to cdo and ndu, explaining how the latter has much longer durations etc.
    The distinction u’ve failed to take note of is that those units are under sotf, with plenty of regulars coming from special forces.
    Now my question would be: What’s the criteria for a unit to be “elite”, while not being in sf? (Since the criteria for sf is clear).
    From my limited knowledge, I’ve always regarded units like guards and reacon as “elite”, running 10km in a short duration (gds) or covering 60km (recce) is no small feat for conscripts like us. If anything, u can consider freely using the term “Elite” while making the distinction with the term “sf”. Kind of like how the nsf cdos don’t call ourselves ranger or sf, since thats something specific regulars are due to the course they’ve gone through that distinguishes them. But we’re still valid cdos.
    You could always take the cynical view that they only use the word “elite” as a motivating factor, but ur job scope is in fact different enough from most of the infantry to garner the unique beret and tab . Give yourself some credit bah!
    Also, with regards to ATEC and “Best Combat Unit” from my knowledge, this is based on how well your unit does ur operations. It isnt the exact same “test” across all units. You can think of it as due to your operations, you are elite. You may not necessarily do your operations better than how other infantry does their operations, which results in them doing better for ATEC. But the nature of your operations is still tougher in general.
  • Aiya elite or not elite, still a waste of 2 years of my life.
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