ICT Amid COVID-19 Crucial to Maintaining SAF's Operational Readiness: Zaqy

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26 Aug 2021 | OPS & TRAINING

ICT Amid COVID-19 Crucial to Maintaining SAF's Operational Readiness: Zaqy

NSmen from 488 SAR continue to train amid COVID-19 effectively and safely.

// Story by Koh Eng Beng

// Photos by Kenneth Lin & Ong Ji Xuan

Mr Zaqy meeting NSmen from 488 SAR.

In-camp training (ICT) amid COVID-19 is crucial to maintaining the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operational readiness.

Senior Minister of State for Defence, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, made this point after visiting Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) from 488th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (488 SAR) at Sungei Gedong Camp on 26 Aug.

Mr Zaqy receiving a brief from Lieutenant Colonel Ang Sze Chun, Commanding Officer of 488 SAR.

About 700 NSmen from 488 SAR are undergoing their Army Training Evaluation Centre (ATEC) Stage 3 evaluation during their eighth ICT.

Sharing his thoughts from the visit, Mr Zaqy said he was heartened by the commitment shown by the NSmen to continue their ops-essential training despite the COVID-19 situation.

"National Service is the cornerstone of our SAF. Certainly our national servicemen form a very important part of this," he said.

NSmen undergoing Rostered Routine Training or RRT, one of the safe management measures to keep NSmen safe from COVID-19.

Mr Zaqy noted that training was possible amid COVID-19 as the SAF took a serious view on safety.

For example, NSmen had to pass a swab test on the first day of their ICT, before they could begin their training. They were also split into functional groups for training, and intermingling between groups is not allowed.

"There were a lot of safety measures in place. And I take comfort (in) that these measures were in place to ensure that we can train safely and effectively," said 3rd Sergeant (3SG) (NS) Lin Bin Xing, 30, a Bionix vehicle commander from 488 SAR.

Major (MAJ) (NS) Eugene Lim, 33, Battalion 2nd-In-Command, noted that the training standards had remained high throughout the ICT.

"Coming back for ICT…ensures our national servicemen continue to keep up-to-date in their individual soldier fundamentals," he said.

MAJ (NS) Lim feels that the ATEC evaluation is important as it serves as a pit-stop check for the battalion’s combat readiness.

The battalion operates the Bionix Armoured Fighting Vehicles. To prepare for their ATEC evaluation, the NSmen went through refresher and component training during the first week of their ICT. These included simulator training and vehicle overturning drills.

3SG (NS) Lin feels that the refresher and component training have helped NSmen like himself to get up to speed with their combat proficiency.

Noting the time away from family and work that the NSmen had to spare, in order to attend ICT, Mr Zaqy thanked them for their contributions and commitment to defence.

The ICT for 488 SAR started on 16 Aug and will end at the end of the month.

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