MAJ Yang Weiliang is a WSO(Ftr) in the Republic of Singapore Air Force. As a WSO(Ftr), tackling complex operational and management roles is second nature. This is because MAJ Yang is tasked with the important role of mission planning and operating the weapons systems on board our advanced fighter aircraft. Many of the skills that he now employs on a daily basis were picked up during his overseas training in Florida, USA.
While on training, MAJ Yang was the Course IC, and was responsible for overseeing the discipline, welfare and training of the course participants. "I always kept in mind that I was a representative of the RSAF in a foreign country and made sure I excelled in my training as well as my various responsibilities," he says.
MAJ Yang has many good memories of his training in Florida. The most memorable of these was his final flight, where he was responsible for leading a flight of four aircraft.
Recounting one of his proudest times, MAJ Yang says, "I remember the moment when I landed and saw all the Singaporean trainees and some of our American counterparts waiting to congratulate me on earning my wings."
Some of the other highlights of MAJ Yang’s posting included attending the wings presentation ceremonies of his seniors, and flying to other states in the USA for detachments and cross-country flights.
Work aside, MAJ Yang also found time to interact with his fellow trainees over the occasional steamboat dinner and even to celebrate Chinese New Year.
MAJ Yang’s learning journey in the USA did not stop at acquiring military skills; even interacting with his American peers was a new experience. Although they had no trouble recognising his leadership abilities, they did have a little trouble understanding his accent initially. "We had to speak really slowly and deliberately to be understood," says MAJ Yang, "almost as if we were reciting essays in English class."
He also found himself learning how to cope with being alone in a foreign land. "Being in a different time zone from my friends and family, it was difficult to find time to keep in contact with them without sacrificing my resting hours," says MAJ Yang. "But my family put in extra effort to keep in touch with me from across the globe, and that helped me keep them close and focus on my training."
Besides these, MAJ Yang also managed to pick up many important lessons during his time overseas, such as learning to be more independent and sharpening his social skills. "You have to adapt more readily to things outside your comfort zone," he says. Being overseas has also made MAJ Yang better appreciate Singapore’s accessible public transportation system, as well as its multi-cultural society.
When asked about which lesson he felt was the most important, MAJ Yang says, "Perseverance. When you carry something through till the end, anything is possible."