New SAF officers ready to lead

Actions
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/876b6878-218f-4006-ab52-80a84e357d25/17jun18_news1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-876b6878-218f-4006-ab52-80a84e357d25-mKIqZ14 /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/876b6878-218f-4006-ab52-80a84e357d25/17jun18_news1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-876b6878-218f-4006-ab52-80a84e357d25-mKIqZ14 /web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/milestones/2018-Q2/17jun18_news
/web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/milestones/2018-Q2/17jun18_news
17jun18_news
17 Jun 2018 | MILESTONES

New SAF officers ready to lead

//Report by Koh Eng Beng

//Photos by Chai Sian Liang and Ajay Prashad

English Melayu

Just three months after graduating from university, she was already earning a high four-figure monthly salary from her first job as a financial adviser. But Midshipman (MID) Phoebe Lai chose to give up her lucrative insurance career to join the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). 

"I find greater meaning in what I am doing now. I am making a direct contribution to the defence of the country," said the 25-year-old. MID Lai had started working part-time in the insurance industry during her final-year of studies at the National University of Singapore in 2016. 

Her two managers in the insurance agency, both former regulars in the RSN, influenced her to make the radical career switch.

"They told me about the family spirit and life (in the RSN). And I liked it as I was looking for meaningful work that is not your typical 8-to-5 job," said OCT Lai, who enlisted last July.

Among her memorable experiences in the Navy so far were sailing to Kochi, India and Phuket, Thailand, as well as firing the powerful Oto Melara 76mm Gun. "The entire ship shook!" she recalled. 

MID Lai will serve on board a Landing Ship Tank (LST). She does not know which LST she will be posted to but she is already looking forward to the experience. 

She described her training as a transformative experience that made her a better leader.  "You are in a setting where everyone is equal. You have to be well-versed in terms of knowledge, do your work well and be confident, so that others will have the confidence to trust in you and follow your lead," she said.

She was one of the 348 officer cadets who were commissioned as officers in a parade held at the SAFTI Military Institute on 17 Jun. The newly-commissioned officers will go on to assume command, instructional or staff appointments in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

Heavy responsibilities

The commissioning parade marked the completion of 38 weeks of rigorous training at the Officer Cadet School (OCS). The cohort comprised 273 officer cadets from the Army, 40 from the Navy, and 35 from the Air Force.

In his address, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who reviewed the parade, reminded the newly minted officers of their responsibilities

He said: "The country is entrusting our defence in your hands. Parents are entrusting their sons in your hands and your men are entrusting their lives in your hands.

"What you do and how you conduct yourselves will shape the National Service experience of those who look up to you as officers and leaders. Lead them well, train them hard, and keep them safe."

Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, also highlighted the importance of the SAF in safeguarding Singapore against wide-ranging threats that include terrorism and cyber-attacks.

Honourable job

Mr Tharman's message resonated with Officer Cadet (OCT) Muhammad Qamarul Anwar Bin Mohd Noor. The 22-year-old Full-time National Serviceman is considering signing on as a regular.

"Being a soldier is an honourable job, because it’s a duty to the country," said the Sword of Merit recipient. The award is given to the top 10 per cent of each cohort.

One of the toughest training he went through took place in an overseas exercise. In a team of four, they had to evacuate an "injured soldier" on a stretcher for 5km up a hill from midnight till dawn.

"It was our seventh day out in the field, and it was raining all the time.  We were wet, hungry, and tired, but we knew we had to push on for the sake of our buddies," he said. 

OCT Qamarul will be returning to the 1st Commando Battalion. He will be a Detachment Commander, leading 12 soldiers. 

Training in the OCS as well as in the Commando Section Leaders’ Course prepared him well for the leadership role, he said.  

"I have learnt to better withstand pressure. As a commando officer, you must still be confident in front of your men, be able to put up a good fight and care for them."

Suggested Reading
Tapping on His Commando Past to Overcome Brain Injury Feature
Tapping on His Commando Past to Overcome Brain Injury
PEOPLE
23-May-22

In the prime of his life, 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) (Ret) Takalah Tan lost half his brain and had total memory loss after a near-fatal road accident in 1994. But when he found out that he was a commando officer, it gave him the belief that he could become a useful person again – he became a cashier in a hawker stall, later a school teacher, and is now a therapy assistant.

A special soldier Feature
A special soldier
PEOPLE
17-May-22

He came to see some action, but stayed for the brotherhood and sense of duty. Meet LTC Brian Anthony Thomas, CO of the Special Forces Leadership School.

Top NSF & national paddler
Cover story
Top NSF & national paddler
PEOPLE
10-May-22

Platoon Sergeant with a heart Feature
Platoon Sergeant with a heart
PEOPLE
05-Apr-22

1SG (NS) Ralph Lim, who heads food charity Mummy Yummy, hopes to inspire more people to step up and help those in need.

Making a Difference to the Lives of His Soldiers
Cover story
Making a Difference to the Lives of His Soldiers
PEOPLE
25-Mar-22

This Guards officer helps his soldiers to become the best version of themselves.

Bro, I've got your back Feature
Bro, I've got your back
PEOPLE
15-Mar-22

These twins were inseparable growing up. Now they chart their own path as part of different Services in NS, while giving each other moral support.

A Journey of Fitness, Friendship and Finding Meaning
A Journey of Fitness, Friendship and Finding Meaning
PEOPLE
09-Mar-22

When 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Steve Chia enlisted for National Service (NS) and started Basic Military Training (BMT) last January, he had a lot on his mind.

Women supporting women in the force Feature
Women supporting women in the force
PEOPLE
08-Mar-22

This International Women's Day, we take a look at a female mentor-mentee duo who serve in the Military Police and find out how they’ve made a difference to other women in the force.

Sea-ing double
Cover story
Sea-ing double
PEOPLE
22-Feb-22

These twins went to separate schools and had their own group of friends, but training and sailing on board the same ship made them grow closer as brothers.

Day at Sea on Board Protector
Cover story
Day at Sea on Board Protector
OPS & TRAINING
20-Jan-22

Take a peek into life on board newly operationalised MSRV Protector, as she sails for a weekend and conducts her first grenade launcher live firing.