Shaping guardsmen's livesThis Guards officer provides tough love (read: training) for his soldiers. Promoted to Senior Lieutenant Colonel on 1 Jul, he is ready to take on more challenges.
//Story by Koh Eng Beng / Photos by Kenneth Lin & courtesy of LTC Jawahir
He has been the Commanding Officer (CO) of Specialist Cadet School (SCS), Guards Training Centre, and a Guards battalion.
But when asked what are the most fulfilling moments in his military career so far, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Mohammad Jawahir bin Samuri's answer was surprising: It's whenever his former soldiers bump into him and thank him for making a positive impact on their lives.
"These are the moments that I really cherish and gave me satisfaction on my job," said the 42-year-old.
He candidly shared that his former soldiers had always said that he was a fierce officer. "But I think, over the years, they know where I was coming back then.
"I have to be firm when I have to, in order to maintain the discipline and training standards. But sometimes I need to coach them using the softer approach in order to gain the (training) outcomes."
LTC Jawahir will be promoted to the rank of Senior Lieutenant Colonel on 1 Jul. He is among 765 uniformed personnel from MINDEF headquarters, Army, Navy, Air Force and Digital and Intelligence Service to be promoted this year.
Currently LTC Jawahir is the CO of Guards Training Centre as well as 795th Battalion, Singapore Guards (795 Gds).
At Guards Training Centre, he oversees the design and review of Guards training such as the Guards Conversion Course and Light Strike Vehicle operator training. He ensures that the training is safe and, at the same time, meets the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) operational requirements.
When asked about how he felt about his promotion, LTC Jawahir simply said: "This promotion shows that the SAF believes in me, (and that I am ready) to take on more challenging tasks.
"I definitely want to do better in my current job – always improving our training system, training outcomes, work culture, and quality of our trainers."
Commanding an NS battalion
LTC Jawahir took command of 795 Gds in November 2019, just a few months before COVID-19 hit Singapore.
The social distancing measures during the pandemic threw a spanner in his work; most of the unit's meetings and coordination had to be done online, and their first In-Camp Training (ICT) for Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) in 2021 had to be cancelled.
"Fortunately, last year, we managed to conduct our first ICT. I'm very proud and encouraged by the commitment shown by my NSmen as they did well during the ICT."
A sense of purpose
Being an Army Regular is a tough job – training is physically and mentally demanding, and the hours are long. What motivated him to keep going is the sense of purpose from defending his country.
His wife is also his pillar of support, he added. In 2013, when his third child was born, his wife became a full-time housewife to take care of the family, so that LTC Jawahir could commit more time to his military career.
When asked what he loves about being a Guardsman, his eyes lit up, and he went on to talk at length about various types of Guards training, such as operating the Light Strike Vehicle, heli-rappelling, and ship-to-shore operations.
"These are training that are very different from infantry, and these make it more interesting for me!" he said.