From left to right: Chief Master Trainer, Specialist and Warrant Officer Institute (SWI), SWO Yeo Keng Hua; Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA), CWO Teo See Keong; SAF Sergeant Major (SAF SM), CWO Ng Siak Ping; Ex SAF SM, CWO(Ret) Joseph Koa; CPT (Ret) Tiger Hong Seng Mak; CPT (Ret) Shamsudin bin Shadan; Commander SWI, COL Marcus Tan; Commanding Officer SWAS, CWO Neo Chee Wee.
Held at Specialist and Warrant Officer Advanced School (SWAS), Pasir Lebar Camp on 15 October, several members from the Warrant Officer and Specialists (WOSpecs) gathered to witness the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Legends Trophies Inauguration Ceremony. The event commenced with the unveiling of four Challenge Trophies, which represent the signature events conducted in SWAS as part of the Warfighter-Company Sergeant Major (WF-CSM) Course and Basic Warfighter-Platoon Sergeant (BWF-PS) Course.
Each challenge draws out the best from the WOSpecs in the areas of Discipline, Fighting Spirit, Innovation, Fitness, Knowledge and Professionalism, all of which are hallmarks of our WOSpecs. These values are evident in the four legends that the Challenge Trophies were aptly named after. They are CPT (Ret) Shamsudin bin Shadan, famously known as the "Terror of SAFTI", CPT (Ret) Hong Seng Mak, widely known as Tiger Hong, ex SAF Sergeant Major (SAF SM), CWO(Ret) Joseph Koa and current SAF SM, CWO Ng Siak Ping.
The Best Drill Award was aptly named the Shamsudin bin Shadan Challenge Trophy in recognition of his contributions as a pioneer of the SAF. CPT (Ret) Shamsudin bin Shadan first joined the Singapore Volunteer Corps (SVC) in 1950 and held the rank of a Sergeant. When the opportunity arose to be a regular serviceman during the inception of 1st Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (1 SIR) in 1957, he wasted no time and enlisted. "I was already in the Volunteer Corps at that point in time. When I heard the news that they were recruiting, I knew that it was my opportunity to serve my country and contribute to its defence."
CPT (Ret) Shamsudin bin Shadan
Then-Director SAFTI (now known as Pasir Laba Camp), COL Ronald Wee presenting CPT(Ret) Shamsudin with the Defence Medal. / Photo contributed by: CPT (Ret) Shamsudin bin Shadan.
Revered as the "King of the Parade Square", CPT (Ret) Shamsudin was notorious for his thunderous and ear-piercing voice that could be heard even before he was seen. He had a reputation as a fierce disciplinarian who was feared for taking soldiers to task if their behavior was anything less than exemplary.
In 1966, he was even appointed as Parade Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of Singapore's very first National Day Parade. When asked how he felt when tasked to train and lead a 1000-men marching contingent in just 50 days, he shared, "I was given a task by my superiors and executed it to the best of my ability. I am just doing my duty."
The Shamsudin bin Shadan Challenge Trophy reminds us of the high standards of regimentation and discipline of the WOSpecs that has been laid by its pioneers.
The Individual Skill-At-Arms (ISAA) Challenge Trophy was named the Tiger Hong Challenge Trophy in recognition of CPT (Ret) Hong Seng Mak's contributions to the SAF during his early years. CPT (Ret) Hong embarked on his military career in 1957 when he joined 1 SIR. During the early years of his soldiering career, Mr Hong was involved in jungle operations in Sabah where he was deployed for six months during the communist insurgency. He was also activated during the Hock Lee bus riots where he took over as the Platoon Commander (PC) in his PC's absence. "In the absence of my PC, I was tasked to lead troops into the crowd and disperse them." he reminisced.
CPT (Ret) Hong Seng Mak
CPT (Ret) Hong Seng Mak when he was CSM for first batch of Officer Cadets. / Photo contributed by: CPT (Ret) Hong Seng Mak.
In 1967, CPT (Ret) Hong served as an instructor and Company Sergeant Major (CSM) to the first batch of Officer Cadets at the SAF Training Institute (SAFTI), There, he was given the famous title of "Tiger Hong". Known to be a strict disciplinarian, he was notorious for his stern and no-nonsense approach in managing soldiers.
With the Tiger Hong Challenge Trophy, it serves as a reminder of the strong foundations laid by our pioneers that has allowed subsequent generations of WOSpecs to build upon.
The Section Skill-at-Arms Challenge Trophy was named the Joseph Koa Challenge Trophy in recognition of CWO (Ret) Joseph Koa's significant contributions to the SAF in the re-profiling of WOSpecs. Since joining the SAF in 1966, CWO (Ret) Koa held many key appointments such as SM, 9th Singapore Division (9 Div) / Headquarters (HQ) Infantry, SM of the Army (SMA) and SAF SM. In 2006, CWO (Ret) Koa formed the Urban Operations Community of Practices to assist 9 Div in promulgating the Urban Operations Tactics, Techniques and Procedures. He also rallied the Army WOSpecs in designing the Murai Urban Training Facility, which has benefited countless soldiers with realistic training simulations till today.
CWO (Ret) Joseph Koa
During his time serving as SMA, CWO (Ret) Koa played a critical role in the re-profiling efforts of the Army WOSpecs. CWO (Ret) Koa shared, "One of the key transformational changes that came out of the re-profiling efforts was enhancing the overarching role of WOSpecs from supporting the Officer Corps to that of partnering them. With this partnership, we hope to be more active and influential in contributing to the mission of Our Army."
Playing a key role in the establishment of a good Officer-WOSpec partnership CWO (Ret) Koa remarked that, "This partnership establishes the professional working relationship between the Officers and WOSpecs, and shares a vision in building strong bonds within a team as well as formally recognises our WOSpecs' contributions in both administration and operations." CWO (Ret) Koa urges WOSpecs to always strive for their best and never to give up when faced with adversities. "Always strive to be the best so that you can help others be the best. Demonstrate that you know the roles and responsibilities of WOSpecs well and work with the Officer Corps. You will surely face challenges along the way. Don't give up. Your predecessors didn't. They stayed on to make the changes when the time is right so that we all could have the best WOSpecs."
The Joseph Koa Challenge Trophy honours him for playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Officer-WOSpec partnership and serves as a reminder that WOSpecs are the backbone of the SAF.
The Combat Skill-at-Arms Challenge Trophy was named the Ng Siak Ping Challenge Trophy for his continued contributions to the SAF and true advocate of lifelong learning. CWO Ng enlisted as a commando in 1962 and has held several key appointments such as RSM, First Commando Battalion, Officer Commanding, Special Operations Tactics Centre, SM, 3rd Singapore Division as well as the current SAF SM.
CWO Ng Siak Ping
Being a strong advocate of lifelong learning, CWO Ng continuously seeks to upgrade himself by attending various courses to keep himself up to date. "The world is ever changing, new knowledge is being discovered, new technology is being developed. By continuously learning and upgrading, we can stay relevant and adaptive. Learning keeps us from being complacent with the present and allows us to actively search for ways and methods to a better future."
CWO Ng has received many awards for his countless achievements during his military career. During his tenure as, RSM, 1st Commando Battalion, the unit won the coveted SAF Best Combat Unit. He also received three awards from the prestigious United States Army Sergeant Major Course, namely the Iron Soldier Award, United States Army Achievement Medal and the International Student Distinguished Graduate Award. During the National Day Awards 2017, he received the Public Administration Medal (Bronze).
Nicknamed "Lungless", CWO Ng is also known to be the epitome of fitness, achieving the Gold Award for IPPT every year since his enlistment. CWO Ng believes that staying fit is of key importance to maintaining a competent defence force. "Soldiers have to be physically fit to endure the challenges of the battlefield and prevail over the aggressor. With good health and fitness, soldiers can work more efficiently with a clear mind and body. They can move faster, further and fight harder. Good fitness means that soldiers' bodies are of better build, projecting a confident and fit SAF."
The Ng Siak Ping Challenge Trophy honours him for exemplifying the key traits of lifelong learning and is a sterling example of a professional and dedicated WO for future generations of WOSpecs to emulate.
After the unveiling of the Challenge Trophies, the four legends were invited to be part of the judging panel of the WF-CSM Drill Competition.
Marching Contingent formed up.
The competition saw the two finalists, MSG Muhammad Fadir bin Abdul Wahab and MSG Tan Wei Xiang Jarvis compete against each other as they took turns to lead a 30-men contingent through a series of arduous drills. Eventually, MSG Tan clinched the victory and was named the first winner of the Shamsudin bin Shadan Challenge Trophy.
MSG Tan being presented with the Shamsudin bin Shadan Challenge Trophy.
With Pride We Lead!
Written by: PTE Gordon Goh
Photography by: REC Nicodemus Kee
Held from 14 to 30 September, 23 Armoured Infantry (AI) Officer Cadets from the Officer Training Wing (OTW), School of Armour (SOA) participated in Exercise Panzer Strike (XPS) Autumn Frame in Oberlausitz Military Training Area (OMTA), Germany. The exercise involved the AI Officer Cadets executing up to platoon-level Armour Live-Firing System (ALFS) as part of their journey to become Armour Officers.
Each year, up to two cohorts of Armour Officer Cadets participate in XPS, in either the Spring or Autumn exercise frames. The vast training space in OMTA and advanced targetry systems provided by the German Armed Forces facilitated the Armour Officer Cadets in honing their abilities to execute complex live firing manoeuvres in an operational mission context.
Bionx Infantry Fighting Vehicles lined up in formation.
Long-range engagements to destroy enemy armoured forces.
OCT Lee Joon Hei was one of those who relished the opportunity to train in OMTA. He explained, "The training space available here is much larger and allows for more realistic and further long-range engagement scenarios while performing complex manoeuvres, as compared to back at home."
OCT Lee Joon Hei
Apart from differences in terrain, the German climate, environment and processes also tested their resilience and adaptability. As shared by OCT Ang Zong Wei, the experience in XPS emphasised to him the importance of adapting to situations swiftly and decisively as an AI Platoon Commander. "We not only had to operate in the cold weather with strong winds but also had to overcome natural and exercise-injected contingencies such as sudden change in weather conditions and random exposure of targets during the live-firing. Such challenging and varied training developed our ability to exercise swift judgement and decision making."
OCT Ang Zong Wei
ALFS was introduced to Armour units in 2009 to enhance training realism and instil operational mindsets in our soldiers by removing the need for rehearsals with blanks on actual grounds during live firing exercises. Before embarking on live-firing exercises, participants had to complete a comprehensive three-stage qualification process, consisting of the Table Top Exercise (TTX), Platform Rehearsals and Wargaming, to validate his/her proficiency for the live-firing.
Firstly, participants go through a TTX, which ascertains the proficiency and confidence of the trainees in the processes and procedures of the live firing exercises. It facilitates the visualisation and understanding of the overall scheme of manoeuvre, as well as the roles of adjacent elements involved.
Preparing for the exercise through a TTX.
After completing the TTX, participants undergo Platform Rehearsals, which assesses the trainees on their proficiency in operating the specific weapon systems and platforms under the live firing exercise's conditions.
XPS participants practising Platform drills.
Finally, Wargaming is a rehearsal on a simulated ground, where trainees would be evaluated on their understanding of the spatial considerations in the live-firing exercise by physically walking through the scheme of manoeuvre and performing the exact actions as required.
XPS participants engaged in Wargaming.
Reflecting on his experience in the AI Section and Platoon ALFS, OCT Song Boon Kuan, Benny recounted, "Each qualification station served a different purpose to ensure that we would be able to execute the live-firing manoeuvres competently and confidently."
OCT Song Boon Kuan
This year's XPS 18 (Autumn) is the 11th in the series for OTW, SOA since its inauguration in 2013. The strong support from the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) bears testament to the warm and growing defence ties between Singapore and Germany.
Swift and Decisive!
Contributed By: School of Armour, Armour Training Institute
Last Updated on 09 Oct 2018