Kopitalk with CO, 8 SIR

Kopitalk with CO, 8 SIR

As we celebrate Military Police & Security Trooper (MPST) Recognition Day in January, we took the opportunity to interview Commanding Officer (CO), 8th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (8 SIR) - LTC Spencer Giam to find out more about how a usual work day is like for him, and how he finds time for his loved ones. 

How is a typical day like as CO, 8 SIR? 

As a CO, I have three main tasks: 1) ensuring the conduct of security operations, 2) preparing troopers for the security operations, and 3) force generation to ensure a steady flow of trained soldiers. We plan and design training programmes to ensure soldiers are trained to perform their job.

A typical day for me usually starts with sending my two daughters to school, then I will move around the camps to join my soldiers for Physical training. After that, I will go through meetings, briefings and do the necessary in order to fulfil the three main tasks mentioned earlier. I will visit the various guardrooms and training to ensure that our Operations and Training is in order.  

Are there any memorable moments or challenges that you've faced so far?

It has definitely been a very fulfilling tour as CO. Everyday, I continue to be inspired by my soldiers as I hear of all the stories from the ground and get to know the altruistic things that both commanders and men are doing. 

For example, I have commanders who, during their off days, come back to the guardrooms just to ensure that preparations are ready for the next duty. I have troopers who come back on occasions such as Christmas and New Year's Eve to celebrate with their fellow troopers who are on duty. 

When you see these things, you get a sense that the troopers are finding meaning and purpose in the things that they're doing, and that inspires me to give me best for my soldiers.

LTC Giam (right) presenting the CO coin to one of his troopers.

LTC Giam (right) presenting the CO coin to one of his troopers.

How do you ensure training for your troopers stay relevant? 

The security landscape has evolved in terms of the threats that we see and the things that we encounter. For example, drones are becoming more prevalent now. We then have to figure out how should we expose our soldiers to these things and train them to deal with it. 

On our end, we try to make the training as realistic as possible to ensure they are ready to deal with these threats if it happens. 

LTC Giam (left) appreciating his troopers during MPST Recognition Day last week.

LTC Giam (left) appreciating his troopers during MPST Recognition Day last week.

Do you have anything that you want to say to your troopers?

I want to say a big thank you to all my troopers for the vigilance that they have shown while performing their duty. We appreciate your commitment 24/7, 365 days a year. It's not easy at times but we continue to be inspired by your vigilance, discipline and dedication to the task at hand. 

LTC Giam addressing his troopers who are going to ORD.

LTC Giam addressing his troopers who are going to ORD.

You mentioned that you have two daughters. How do you usually spend time with them?

My daughters are aged 4 and 7. When we get the time, we visit parks, zoos, and even stables where they can do horseback riding.  I try to expose them to the outside world and the outdoors often. However, now that it's COVID-19, we stay indoors more often and we will do arts and crafts together. 

Any words that you want to say to your family?

I want to thank them sincerely for giving me the space and the support to pursue this profession and the job that I love. Whenever my girls run to greet me once I get home, it keeps me going. Of course, I would also like to thank my wife for always providing me with her support. As cliche as it may sound, without my wife, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

Written by: LCP Stanley Ong (Army News)
Photography by: CPL Jakob Carlo Dass (Army News), with contribution from unit