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ME4 Joe Yeo Tee Hwa

Coxswain, RSS Formidable
Did you always know that you wanted to join RSN? What sparked your interest?

Growing up, I aspired to join a uniformed service and in particular, I joined the Navy because I have always been fascinated by warships. I was also drawn to the Navy because it offers a meaningful, challenging, enriching and rewarding career, giving me opportunities to travel around the world, broadening my horizon of thoughts.

Tell us about your roles and responsibilities in the RSN.

As the Coxswain of RSS Formidable, a formidable-class frigate, my primary role is to maintain the general discipline and well-being of the men and women of the ship. This also means that I have to be a good role model and mentor to them.

What are some challenges you have faced? How did you overcome them?

In the Navy, we are rotated to take on different appointments throughout our career. This requires us to learn quickly and at times, the learning curve can be very steep. Thankfully, I have always received the guidance and, support of my seniors and peers alike, which made transitions easier.

Share with us some of the more memorable episodes you have had throughout your time with the RSN.

I was honoured to have participated in Operations Blue Sapphire (Command) in 2016, a three-month deployment to the Gulf of Aden for counter-piracy operations. Being a key waterway for Asia and the rest of world, that region is renowned for being a hotspot for piracy attacks. As a maritime nation with the world’s busiest port, Singapore depends on the safety of the world’s sea lines of communication for its maritime trade.

Being able to participate in the international fight against piracy was an eye-opener. I gained insights into how navies from around the world work together, learnt about their cultures and was most impressed by the professionalism of the men and women who committed their time and effort to the mission.

Share with us the key challenge you face at work.

It is not easy to manage a crew of different personalities, but it is very fulfilling when I am able to make a positive impact on their lives. Like a family, we tide through good and bad times together. 

What advice would you have for polytechnic graduates who wish to join the Navy?

It is not a usual 8 to 5 deskbound job. Your career with the Navy will be an adventure that will challenge you to reach your fullest potential. It will also allow you to make a positive difference to the lives of many. If you think you have what it takes, we welcome you on board.

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