On 5 July, 250 students from Saint Andrew's Junior College (SAJC), along with their teachers were hosted by 8th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (8 SIR) at Murai Urban Training Facility (MUTF).
LTC Damian Lim, Commanding Officer of 8 SIR opened with a speech engaging students on 8 SIR's formative days and its roles and responsiblities in the SAF. Highlighting the purpose and his hopes for the event, LTC Lim espoused on the importance of such an engagement, "we want every individual to be able to transit seamlessly into army life and it is with this in mind that we hope all of you will make full use of this experience to gain invaluable insights."
"Heart, Mind, Body" was the theme of this year's engagement. Beginning with Army on Display, students embarked on a sensory experiential journey as they went round the various stations savouring SAF's field rations, applying on the camouflage cream and orientating through dark rooms with night vision goggles. In particular, students were amazed by the Weapon Static Display where they had the rare opportunity to experience handling the SAR21, General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and the MATADOR. The Protection of Installation Exhibition was equally well received as 8 SIR's enhanced capabilities to deal with security threats like Retractable Road Blade, Riot Shield and even TASER gun intrigued students.
The programme continued with Army In Action 1 - Urban Assault, which saw students directing their own urban operations mission. As enemy sirens and constant fire punctuated the scene, the mood was akin to that of an actual devastating enemy attack. It was an adrenaline rushing moment which required immediate response. The Saints displayed admirable qualities of remaining calm and clear headed, executing what they had planned without compromising on dexterity. Swift yet cautious, the Saints executed a coup de grace with calculated aggression, assaulting the buildings to eventually overrun the enemy with much success. Both physically and mentally demanding, dexterity in both thought and execution were sharpened.
"Such an experience definitely provides invaluable insights that would not have been achieved had the event been merely an exhibition without the element of student participation," enthused 3SG Chong Kekang, Chairman Organising Committee and a Saint Andrew's Junior College Alumni.
Focusing on the physical domain of the students was an exhilarating Soldier Proficiency Relay. The demanding nature of the relay where students charged up hills, competed in assembling and firing of the GPMG, lobbed grenades in prone position, participated in Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC), was clearly one that allowed students to better understand the physical demands of an SAF infantry.
The day's engagement culminated with a prize presentation ceremony to the most "garang" group and Mr Jonathan Yong, teacher-in-charge expressed his gratitude, "We want to thank 8 SIR for a well thought out event. It was a very good time for all of us who greatly enjoyed ourselves. The event was a great eye opener not just for our students, but teachers alike."
Indeed, it was a memorable and eventful day for one and all involved. However, they all knew that the closure of the event was not an end in itself, but a new beginning to many more years of partnership and engagement to come.