The SAF Adjusts Outdoor Activities According to Haze Situation
We refer to the letter Protecting SAF recruits from haze by Ms June Hoo which was published on 24 October 2015. Since then, we have spoken to Ms Hoo to understand and address...
National Service Registration for male Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents born between 1st September 1998 and 31st December 1998 (both dates inclusive) will be conducted between 11th November 2015 and 1st December 2015 (both dates inclusive).
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will conduct military exercises in Seletar, Marsiling, Jalan Bahar, Neo Tiew, Lim Chu Kang, Jalan Kwok Min, Tuas, Upper Jurong, Hong Kah, Ama Keng, Bedok Jetty, Kranji, Lentor, Simpang, Sembawang, Mandai from 08:00am on Mon, 23 Nov 2015 to 08:00am on Mon, 30 Nov 2015.
What is it like to teach PE to students more than 40 years younger than you? Army Regular-turned-PE teacher LTC (Ret) Kok Wai Tong shares his experience.
Most people in their fifties would prefer a slower pace of life to enjoy their golden years. But not Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (Ret) Kok. At the age of 48, he put himself through a back-breaking physical proficiency test, all in a bid to become a physical education (PE) teacher.
Imagine standing on your hands, doing the cartwheel when you are almost 50, recalled LTC (Ret) Kok, now 66, who is working at Serangoon Junior College.
I wasn't sure if I could even do it, but somehow I managed, he laughed.
Apart from his initial lack of flexibility, being older was never an obstacle. The former Artillery officer, who spent 29 years in the Army, is still in tip-top shape. He never failed to ace his annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test.
What he enjoys most in his job is being able to influence young people. LTC (Ret) Kok recalled one incident vividly. In his first school, as the teacher-in-charge of Riverside Secondary's football team, he once banned his best player because of disciplinary problems. The team captain and other students petitioned against his decision, but he stood firm.
Discipline is important; there are no two ways about it. If you make a mistake, you pay for it. But more importantly, you don't stop there, you have to move on, and learn to re-organise the team, he explained.
The captain rallied the team, and they emerged among the top four in the North Zone. A good result, said LTC (Ret) Kok, because this was the school's debut in the national school games' football tournament.
I was very proud, in the sense that I allowed the students to work things out among themselves.
Establishing more regular dialogues between both Defence Ministers, deepening collaboration in maritime security and boosting cooperation between Singapore and India's defence industries. These are the agreements stated in the revised Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Singapore and India.
The revised DCA was concluded alongside the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership signed by Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, at the Istana on 24 Nov.
Under the ambit of an Enhanced Defence Partnership, the revised DCA was signed by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and Indian Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar. The DCA was also symbolically exchanged by Permanent Secretary for Defence Chan Yeng Kit, and Indian Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in the presence of both Prime Ministers.
Commenting that the revised DCA was a significant milestone from the first one signed more than 10 years ago, Dr Ng said: Our defence ties have committed to meetings at the highest level between defence ministers regularly… and more military-to-military ties and exercises.
Specifically, (there is) also closer collaboration for maritime security… (and) an agreement on exchange of information for white-shipping. (White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.)
He added that this collaboration put defence relations between both countries on a better footing, and signalled that Singapore and India had become closer defence partners.
On the topic of maritime security, Dr Ng said that both countries valued the importance of peace and stability, with reduced tensions and minimal possibility of any disruption to global trade and maritime lanes.
He said: Maritime security is an essential lifeline for economies or trade in this region, whether it's the South China Sea or Straits of Malacca. India's voice will be heard and we share common perspectives in terms of common stability.
The revised DCA also coincided with the signing of a Technical Agreement on the Sharing of White-Shipping Information between the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Indian Navy in July this year. With the TA, this has allowed Singapore's Information Fusion Centre and India's Directorate of Network Centric Operations to exchange real-time white-shipping information for greater maritime awareness and sense-making.
The revised DCA is seen as bringing the defence relations between Singapore and India a few notches up, as both countries commemorate 50 years of diplomatic relations.
Defence interactions between both countries include high-level visits, policy dialogues, joint military training, defence technology cooperation, courses, seminars and other professional exchanges.
Runner-up of the SAF50 Story Contest, Mr Michael Sim, 51, writes about how he encouraged his children to live out the military dream he had been unable to fulfil.
Since young, I was taught the need to build up our national defence in order to guard our independence. My father was that unsung hero who inspired me in many ways.
He taught me that even when one is not in the Army, one can still contribute to nation-building in many other ways: being a responsible citizen; giving back to society as much as one possibly can; and being proud of who we are. Yes, we, the citizens of Singapore!
When my turn came to serve the country, I received crushing news from the Ministry of Defence - a letter instructing me to collect a Certificate of Full Exemption.
My hopes were dashed but eventually I reminded myself of what my father had taught me. Hey, I can still contribute to our country in many other ways!
Since I couldn't personally serve in our defence, I had to market my ideas to my children. My eldest daughter Marilyn stepped up, as she, too, was passionate about the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
Some say journalist Benita Teo must be very brave to put herself out there and do this. In truth, the Singapore Armed Forces Music and Drama Company (SAF MDC) are the real brave ones for saying yes to her co-hosting Recruits' Night.
I feel like I'm in a vacuum: I can barely breathe, my heart is thumping in my ear, and all my thoughts are racing at the speed of light. And it's dark all around.
The moments before the curtains rise are always the hardest.
I turn to my co-host, Corporal (CPL) Shrey Bhargava. He looks collected and confident, while I'm not even sure if I remember my first line.
The curtains open slowly, and the mass of recruits at the Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) starts to grow before our eyes. The spotlights come on and like a supernova, we burst into life… BMTC, ARE YOU READY TO HAVE SOME FUN?
In March last year, Military Expert (ME) 4 David Mohan S/O Arumugam was deployed for a search-and-locate operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the South China Sea.
His frigate RSS Steadfast had just returned to Singapore after completing a bilateral exercise with the Royal Malaysia Navy.
Despite this, he and his crew had no complaints. In fact, he was glad that their training was put to good use, and they were able to work seamlessly with their Malaysian naval counterparts.
Our peace-time training over the years and through the various exercises with foreign navies were valuable in ensuring our preparedness for real operations, he explained.
ME4 David was among 661 personnel from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) who received the National Day Awards on 20 Nov.
The 48-year-old received the Efficiency Medal for his sterling contributions to the Navy. As Squadron Coxswain of 182/189 Squadron, he is the mentor to about 400 sailors.
A total of 79 Commendation Medals, 115 Efficiency Medals and 475 Long Service Medals were given out to both military and non-military personnel at the National Day Awards Investiture held at MINDEF. These awards recognise their outstanding performance and dedication to duty and service.
The ceremony was officiated by Senior Ministers of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung and Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman.
Shouldering heavy responsibilities
For Lieutenant Colonel (NS) Adrian Toh, who received the Long Service Medal, the most significant moment in his 25-year-long career came when he took on the role of a test pilot from 2003 to 2007.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force was then looking for replacements for its ageing A-4 fighter jets.
It was thrilling to be flying these air craft (that the RSAF was looking at purchasing), but the biggest challenge was to objectively evaluate each aircraft, said the 44-year-old, an F-15 and F-16 fighter pilot by training.
We are talking about a billion-dollar acquisition in which the security of the country is at the forefront of our decision-making process.
He just retired from the RSAF in May this year, and will be serving as an Operationally Ready National Serviceman (NSman) in the Air Operations Department.
It has been a fulfilling career, and I have always enjoyed my work in the Air Force. I look forward to working with my colleagues again as an NSman, said the 44-year-old, now a commercial pilot.
Another award winner was 1st Warrant Officer (1WO) Omar Bin Osman, a Sergeant Major in the Infantry Training Institute.
He derives great satisfaction in grooming junior specialists into capable warrant officers. His former trainees, who have since risen through the ranks, still go to him for advice.
That (in) itself speaks volumes of how you can win people’s hearts, said the Efficiency Medal recipient.
The 40-year-old recently completed the Sergeant Major course in the United States Army Sergeant Majors Academy in June.
He trained alongside soldiers from 30 military forces worldwide. One of his key takeaways was being able to learn from his counterparts and bring some of their best practices into his work in the SAF.
I am committed to give my 110 percent. Whatever challenge that I might face along the way, I know the SAF has prepared me well, he added.
Also on the honour list
At an earlier National Day Awards Ceremony on 8 Nov, 14 MINDEF and SAF personnel received awards from President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam.
Former Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (NS) Ng Chee Meng received the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentara) [Meritorious Service Medal (Military)], and Assistant Chief of General Staff (Operations) Brigadier-General Siew Kum Wong received the Public Administration Medal (Silver) (Bar) (Military).
The award recipients also comprised nine senior SAF officers who received the Public Administration Medal (Silver) (Military), and three MINDEF personnel who received the Public Administration Medal (Silver).
In a separate awards ceremony officiated by Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong on 11 Nov, 28 senior SAF officers received the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) (Military), and eight MINDEF personnel received the Public Administration Medal (Bronze).
The blast of a Leopard 2SG tank's main gun rips across the open field, breaking the silence. Right on cue, four AH-64D Apache helicopters file in from above, one after the other, firing into the distance.
The enemy is in disarray, and begins to move across the field. But the armoured fighters are not letting up. Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) begin to rain bullets on the moving target, accompanied by mortar bombs.
With a final explosion of fire from the Leopard tank, the target is finally taken down. The Armoured Battle Group (ABG) has achieved mission success.
Witnessing this air-land integrated strike at Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in Queensland, Australia on 20 Nov was Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen.
More than 4,000 SAF personnel and 400 SAF platforms are taking part in this year’s Exercise Wallaby (XWB), which marks the 25th anniversary of the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) training at SWBTA.
Held from 28 Sep to 25 Nov, XWB 2015 saw the largest number of participating assets from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), which included AH-64D Apaches, CH-47 Chinooks and the Air-Land Tactical Control Centre.
Dr Ng, who had arrived in Rockhampton, Queensland after meeting his Australian counterpart Marise Payne the day before, expressed his appreciation to Australia for its support and cooperation with the SAF: Over these last 25 years, the exercises (we held) have become more and more complex. I'm very happy to see that we are making full use of these opportunities (to train here).
Noting the benefits of the large training space in SWBTA, Dr Ng said: It provides our armoured soldiers and national servicemen credible opportunities (and) very realistic training to hone their skills. This is very important (in building up our) confidence and professionalism.
Brigadier-General (BG) Kenneth Liow, Chief Armour Officer and Exercise Director for XWB 2015, echoed his sentiments: Exercise Wallaby, given the vast and extensive terrain here, allows us…to really stretch out and exercise the units. We do so in terms of manoeuvres, evaluation and live firing. The terrain also allows us to conduct the live firing and manoeuvres in an air-land context as well.
Camp life at Exercise Wallaby
As part of his visit, Dr Ng met with RSAF personnel at Warriors Camp. The camp is the RSAF’s new permanent base in Rockhampton and has a parking area that can hold up to nine Chinook helicopters.
The very valuable training space - not just land but air … allows us to constantly hone the skills of our personnel, in terms of their tactics, techniques and procedures… (We can) launch our assets more quickly and in a more tactically realistic environment and scenario, explained Colonel (COL) Teoh Chun Ping of the move to Warriors Camp. He is the Exercise Air Director for frame three of XWB 2015.
Dr Ng also visited Camp Growl, where the troops had been based for XWB 2015. While most only resided in Camp Growl during their respective exercise frames, others, like the Forward Support Group’s Military Expert (ME) 3-1 Balasubramaniam s/o Suppiah, arrived at Camp Growl three days before the start of the exercise and would only leave after all the soldiers had left.
As the Maintenance Overall In-Charge (OIC), ME3-1 Balasubramaniam saw to the shipping of all the SAF's wheeled and track vehicles to Rockhampton and back to Singapore.
It was a long and vigorous process, as he explained: We took over the vehicles - all the different variants - from each individual unit…and washed all of them. Then we had to go through another round of checks to ensure that all the vehicles were still serviceable.
(And) because the Leopard tanks are huge vehicles, they could only be transported at certain times of the day, which was early morning or late night.
Stepping up to the plate
Despite the long period away from home and tough weather conditions, servicemen valued the opportunity to train at XWB15.
Lieutenant (LTA) Ken Nakamoto even extended his operationally-ready date (ORD) to participate in the exercise. A Deputy S2 in 40th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (40 SAR), he was able to play a commanding role at XWB 2015.
Because my boss couldn't come, he gave me the opportunity to step up… This will prepare me for my NSman (Operationally Ready National Serviceman) role as well, said the 21-year-old Intelligence Officer.
He credited his colleagues for making his XWB a memorable one: The Regulars I work with are very professional. And the commanders in 40 SAR manage to find the sweet spot between being friends, commanders and colleagues.
I feel comfortable working with them. These small things, like your branch mates and commanders, played a part in my decision to extend (my ORD).
Like LTA Nakamoto, ME5-1 (NS) Alex Yang was glad to have the chance to contribute to XWB. Although the 38-year-old Managing Director of CWT Aerospace Services Private Limited had to juggle family and work commitments while in Rockhampton, he was heartened to see NSmen shoulder responsibilities just like the Regular force. An air force engineer, he is Officer Commanding of Integrated Maintenance Flight in 806 Squadron.
NSmen form an important pool…to fulfill the functions and roles that we are assigned to. If I were to think of myself as an outsider, I would be very uncomfortable taking on responsibilities, he said.
We need to have the mindset that NSmen form an integral part of the fighting force… I believe (the SAF's) doctrine today provides for that.