SINGAPORE - The first German recipient of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) prestigious military award, the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) is the Chief of Staff of the German Army, Lieutenant General (LTG) Bruno Kasdorf.
The award, also known as the Meritorious Service Medal (Military), was conferred on him by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, which recognises LTG Kasdorf's contributions in strengthening the defence relationship between the German and Singapore Army.
LTG Kasdorf's support for the Singapore Army's training in the Bergen NATO Training area has been pivotal in enabling the Singapore Army to meet its training needs.
The 48th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment started training in Bergen as far back as 2009 with its German-made Leopard 2A4 tanks.
LTG Kasdorf was instrumental in the establishment of a second training window for the SAF's longest armour live-firing exercise in Germany, Exercise Panzer Strike.
Before the second training window, around 200 SAF armour troops only had about 40 days to train in Bergen, an area spanning 290 sq km, which is half the size of Singapore with three times the firing range.
The new agreement, which came to effect in 2013, allows more than 1,300 SAF armour troops to spend over 100 days in Germany for training.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen presented the award to LTG Kasdorf at an investiture held at the Ministry of Defence this morning.
LTG Kasdorf, who is in Singapore for a visit from August 11 to 13, also called on Dr Ng, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Ng Chee Meng and Chief of Army Major-General Perry Lim before the investiture.
LTG Kasdorf will visit the Multi-Mission Range Complex later today and will be speaking to students at the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College as part of the Distinguished Speakers' Programme on Wednesday.
Singapore and Germany concluded a bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement in September 2005, and has since strengthened its relationship through high-level defence visits, military exchanges and courses and defence technology tie-ups.