(Caption for photo above) As RSS Sovereignty's Commanding Officer, MAJ Jagatheesh Krishnan is no stranger to the responsibility of keeping his ship operationally ready, and that the people entrusted under his charge remain committed and motivated.
Prior to the implementation of circuit breaker measures and the shift in operational profile, he ensured that his crew were given enough time to make arrangements for their families and loved ones. Having a prior command tenure and overseas operations experience, MAJ Jagatheesh knows first-hand how important it is to mentally prepare his crew and their loved ones for the extended time apart.
To help his ship crew adapt and maintain operational focus, he and his command team also organised activities such as light physical and goal-setting exercises. MAJ Jagatheesh also takes the time to talk with his crew to find out how they are adjusting to the new routine and whether they have any concerns that the squadron can help address.
Read on more to learn about the adjustments that their squadron made to help ship crew adapt to the extended time away from home.
"The seas have always been our lifeline, and will continue to be so." – then-Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (2016)
Our navy's mission to safeguard Singapore's waters and protect our sea lines of communication from threats will be a constant, even in the face of this challenging COVID-19 situation.
However, as the situation evolves, so must we, in order to stay mission-ready.
This meant that we had to adapt our operational profile for our people's safety – to minimise the risk of exposure and to safeguard their readiness. Although it translates to more days away from home physically, it is what we are willing to do to keep Singapore's waters safe from maritime threats.
(Read on more to hear from two of RSS Sovereignty's crew)
As a father of two (as shown in the picture), MAJ Jagatheesh knows how uplifting it is to see and hear from his wife and children when he is away.
Thus, 182 SQN (the Squadron which RSS Sovereignty and the other Littoral Mission Vessels belong to) made concessions for ship crew to video-call their families and loved ones at designated areas whilst in harbour during the extended time away from home.
"For all of us," shares MAJ Jagatheesh, "it is more time away from our loved ones, but this is a sacrifice that ensures the security of Singapore and our waters. We are staying out at sea, and away from our families. We hope that our fellow Singaporeans who can stay home do stay home. Together, we will get through this."
Read on more to hear from one of the NSFs on board RSS Sovereignty.
Prior to his NS enlistment, 3SG Nicholas Goh did not think twice about the importance of the sea to Singapore. Now that he's regularly deployed to safeguard Singapore's waters with his ship RSS Sovereignty, 3SG Goh looks at the sea with renewed eyes and conviction.
"Every time I go out to sea and see the busy Singapore Strait, and all the vessels that come into our ports, I feel like my sacrifice is making a direct impact on my family and friends. I never realised how important the sea was until I served NS in the Navy, and I guess many Singaporeans are also now seeing how our way of life depends on the goods that are carried by the sea."
He also acknowledges that the work his ship and squadron does is unique, and that like most SAF operational units, they do not have the option to bring their work home during the COVID-19 situation.
But 3SG Goh is thankful to have understanding parents and friends who know and appreciate what he is going through. His friends have put a hold to their weekly supper meetups because they know it's the right thing to do. His parents, once learning that their son would be spending an extended time away from home, were unwaveringly supportive. 3SG Goh's mother even offer to send him supplies if he needed them. Fuelled by their support, 3SG Goh remains committed to RSS Sovereignty's mission!