Commando Leaders Twinning by ExampleThis pair of twins were in non-combat roles before they made the cut in the gruelling Special Forces Qualification Course; both are now serving as Officers Commanding in 1st Commando Battalion (1 CDO Bn).
// Story by Thrina Tham
// Photos by Ong Ji Xuan & Courtesy of CPT Jun Rong & CPT Jun Qiang
The twinning game is strong in these two.
CPT Toh Jun Rong and CPT Toh Jun Qiang, 31, are often seen as a pair, whether in or out of camp. As Officers Commanding (OCs) of sister companies in 1 CDO Bn, they also often get together to discuss their training.
But it's completely unplanned. "We have a lot of similar interests so we spend a lot of time together, it's not like we're doing it on purpose," said CPT Jun Qiang, who is the younger twin by five minutes.
"In fact, what I hate about him is that, because we have the same taste, we will always end up buying the same things. Then, more often than not, he will be the one wearing or using my things by mistake."
The brothers went to engineering school in Temasek Polytechnic, albeit in different courses, and later majored together in Mechatronics Systems at the Singapore Institute of Technology.
After their Basic Military Training (BMT) in 2011, they signed on with different Services — CPT Jun Rong joined the Air Force as an Air Warfare Officer (Air Traffic Control) while CPT Jun Qiang was posted to the Navy's Submarine Maintenance Engineering Centre — but they were not separated for long.
Though in non-combat roles, they applied for the Joint Special Forces Selection Test (CPT Jun Qiang in August 2015 and CPT Jun Rong in November 2015), where they both made the cut.
Now, CPT Jun Rong and CPT Jun Qiang are the OCs of the 1st and 2nd Companies in 1 CDO Bn respectively.
Who first had the idea to sign on?
JR: I wanted to be more independent and contribute back to my parents early so I saw signing on as a good opportunity. During BMT, the recruitment officer was very convincing in the recruitment talk and my parents, especially my mum, were also very supportive.
JQ: Yes, when he came back from BMT, he already had the "sales speech" from the recruitment officer! So even before entering BMT (three months after Jun Rong), I already knew that I would be signing on because of him.
You were both in non-combat roles in the beginning. What was it like to train up your fitness for the Special Forces selection?
JQ: It took me about two months and I trained with a friend who was also interested to convert. Our first training was a 20km route march in Punggol – that was the first route march I had done in five years! We were carrying about 25kg in our field packs and I almost fell out. I did really badly.
The build-up training was pretty tough, and I would keep training during the weekends. Sometimes he (Jun Rong) would join me. At that point, he was not training for the selection, so he joined for the sake of accompanying me.
JR: As a good brother, I wanted to make sure he was safe so I joined his training. But when it came to my turn to train (for the next selection test), he didn't come when I asked him. *dagger eyes*
JQ: That was after my selection and I sort of had a phobia of training. So, I wanted to give myself more rest.
So, it was only later that Jun Rong decided to train and apply?
JR: Yes, when he passed the selection and I got to know about how the course was so physically and mentally challenging, it got me interested.
I would go to the stadium during my free time and clock a 20km route march for about three to four hours. That was mentally gruelling. I would have a buddy look after me; he would sit at the grandstand and watch over my safety.
What is something your twin does better than you?
JR: Overall, he is fitter. He is more driven and motivated so I'll be the one following him for his fitness regime. He will drag me along and I will be the one saying: "好了没有? (Are you done?) Can end already or not?"
JQ: For him, it would be his studies and work process. From secondary school all the way to poly and university, we always studied together and I'd be the one asking questions and he'd be teaching me. Now, if I don't know how to go about a certain work process, I'll still look for him.
JR: So you get both the brains and the brawn. *laughs*
What do you love about each other?
JR: For me, it's having a forever friend, knowing I always have someone beside me. Most importantly, this relationship has kept me going through tough times.
During the Ranger Course (in August 2017), even though we were in different teams, the fact that he didn't drop out kept me going — because I definitely cannot lose out to him! *indignant face*
So even if I'm suffering and having a very bad time, (I'll push on because) I know that my brother is going through the same thing as me.
JQ: For me, it's having a lifelong "partner in crime". As far back as my memory takes me, we've always been doing things together. Maybe in (November), when I move out to my BTO (Build-To-Order flat), then we'll stop doing that. Now, we are still doing everything together.
And yeah, JR is like a role model who keeps me going in everything I do. So I don't feel lonely at all having him as a twin.
How well do the twins know themselves and each other? Find out as they play a round of "Who's more likely to"!