Our Infantrymen are trained to operate in challenging weather conditions across vast terrain profiles in day and night to defeat the enemy and secure terrain. It then comes as no surprise that providing the right type of training for our Infantrymen is an extremely important task. Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with the Commanding Officer (CO) of the Infantry Combat Training Centre (ICTC) 1, Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Ron Ng. Read on to find out more about the everyday life of LTC Ng!
LTC Ng in front of the iconic ‘Men of Respect’ landmark at the Infantry Training Institute.
What does the Infantry Combat Training Centre do?
The Infantry Combat Training Centre (ICTC) provides training for active and Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) Infantry and Guards Battalions. Training curriculum is scaffolded based on the training milestones the Battalions need to complete throughout their durations of active service or ORNS years as part of the Army training system. We call these training periods “rotation training”. Each rotation training will have a specific training theme. The rotation training is customised based on the training unit’s competency, together with feedback and consultation from the Unit Command Team.
What is a typical day as CO like?
There really isn’t a typical day as a CO. Each rotation can have very different training requirements such as field training, live-firing ranges, simulation training, and map planning. As ICTC conducts Battalion-level training, these activities can take place concurrently. Therefore, I will plan my activities based on where I can make the most contribution to the team. Typically, I spend my mornings observing the conduct of training to feel the pulse of the training tempo and progress. For the rest of the day, I will sit down with the trainers and training units to discuss lessons learnt and areas of improvement. Evening and night periods are usually spent on catching up with staff work, or observing any ongoing overnight training.
How has your experience as CO been so far?
I would say that my experience has been both fulfilling and inspirational. It is fulfilling as we get to observe units grow from strength to strength. Over time, the trainers in the training centre also form good working partnerships with the training units as more and more interactions take place. It is inspirational because I have a group of dedicated trainers who work tirelessly to deal with daily training matters regardless of their complexity. I have also witnessed trainers who had served more than five years with ICTC displaying a high level of enthusiasm and ethos, rotation after rotation. I have been very fortunate that these experienced trainers continue to share their wisdom with me so that the training centre continues to learn and improve.
LTC Ng gives a briefing to the trainers of ICTC 1.
What are some values that you believe in as a leader?
I have 2 key values that I strongly believe in. First, Safety. Military training, especially for our NSmen, can be unnatural as they spend most of their time away from the military and only join us for a week or two every year. Over time, they may lose what I term as “muscle memory” on how to stay vigilant during high-risk training activities. Therefore, trainers have to be extra vigilant, to watch out for any safety lapses, provide just-in-time safety information, and remind our NSmen during training so that we can continue to train safely. Second is Lead by Example. This is especially important when we impose safe management measures that can be very uncomfortable or inconvenient for many, especially out in the field. This is where trainers will need to lead by example. We must not impose measures that we are not prepared to do.
Any words that you want to say to your trainers and their supportive loved ones?
I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the trainers who have made many personal sacrifices in order for safe training to be conducted during these challenging times. They often have to work long hours away from home. Some even missed out on important family occasions due to our very demanding job scope. With this thought, I would like to thank their loved ones for their unwavering support. Their management of the homefront enables our trainers to have the peace of mind to focus on the training activities.
Camaraderie is an important aspect of working in a military environment, and it’s something that LTC Ng has with everyone he works with.
Any words that you want to say to your family?
I am truly blessed to have the support of my family, especially my wife. She has to deal with homefront matters on her own whenever I am not around. It was especially challenging during the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She had to manage my preschooler son at home on her own while I was busy at work. We recently celebrated the birth of our newborn baby into our family, and I look forward to sharing more parental duties with her. To my family, you guys mean the world to me!
What do you usually do during your free time?
I indulge in photography. It’s something that allows me to enter a ‘personal zone’ while focusing on framing the pictures. In the past, I also used to watch the NBA and was a huge fan of Michael Jordan!
Written by: REC Basil Sim (Army News)
Photography by: PTE Isaac Wong (Army News), with contribution from LTC Ng