SAFVC holds first tri-Service promotion, launches 15 new roles

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23 Jun 2018 | MILESTONES

SAFVC holds first tri-Service promotion, launches 15 new roles

// Report by Koh Eng Beng
// Photos by Tan Yong Quan

English Melayu

Unlike most boys who begin their National Service (NS) at 18 or 19 years old, he was already in his 40s when he went for his first military training. This was in 2015 when he joined the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC). 

SAFVC Volunteer (SV) 2 Ting Wei Sang had to lug a rifle and dig trenches in the jungle. 

"It was challenging but I wanted to do it. Although I came to Singapore when I was young, I had no chance to do NS," said SV2 Ting, who was born in Malaysia and came to Singapore at 19 to study. He later became a citizen in the early 2000s.

After completing his Basic Training, SV2 Ting was posted to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) as a C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computer) Expert. 

Tapping on his 20 years of experience as a technical engineer, he put up suitable recommendations on the latest network and communication technologies for the RSAF. 

The 45-year-old was one of 67 SVs promoted to the rank of SV2 in a ceremony held at Maju Camp on 23 Jun. SV2 is the second of four ranks which volunteers can attain.

This was the first promotion parade that comprised SVs from all three Services in the SAF - Army, Navy and Air Force. The guest of honour for the parade was Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman.

Expanding roles

Speaking to reporters after the parade, he noted that the SAFVC had enlisted more than 700 Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) over the last three years. 

"We have been able to deploy them in at least 90 deployments…working side by side with our NSFs (Full-time National Servicemen) as well as our NSmen (Operationally Ready National Servicemen)." 

Dr Maliki also shared that the SAFVC has introduced 15 new roles - in the areas of safety, engineering, psychology/counselling, military band, and supply chain. This brings the total number of roles for SVs to 31. 

"We wanted to make sure that whoever comes to serve the SAF feels that they have a role to play…and be effective and relevant to the SAF," he explained.  

Role model

For promotee SV2 Leong Soo Yun, her reason for volunteering with the SAFVC was to set an example for her nine-year-old twin boys.

"I want to be a role model for them and share my experience with them," said the 35-year-old Malaysian-born Singaporean.  

Her experiences so far include firing a rifle, and going through field camp in the jungle. "I really love it," said SV2 Leong, who is the only person in her family with any experience related to NS.  

Her husband, parents and parents-in-law are Malaysians. She came to Singapore for university studies in 1999, and became a citizen in 2013.

Now serving as a Naval Combat/Platforms Systems Engineer, she helps  to determine the cause of defects in the network and sensors of Navy ships. 

While completing the task quickly within a week can be challenging, it helps that the work process is similar to what she does in her civilian job as a software engineer.

"You need to learn fast and understand how it works before you can find the root cause," explained SV2 Leong. 

Playing his part

Another SV who received his promotion was SV2 Philip Christian Paul Von Meyenburg, who came from Germany. 

A Singapore PR who is married to a Singaporean, he joined the SAFVC out of a desire to contribute to the country that he has called home for the last 11 years. 

Coming from Europe, which has a long history of war, SV2 Von Meyenburg was brought up to not take security for granted. 

"I have enjoyed the safety of Singapore; I wanted to contribute. The security is strong because (there are people) doing something about it," said the 40-year-old IT sales professional with a multinational company.

An Auxiliary Security Trooper, he works alongside NSFs to screen visitors and vehicles entering army camps and at SAF events. 

He has gained a deeper appreciation of the work these servicemen do: "I got a sense of what it's like what behind the scenes. These guys work tirelessly. It's round the clock, 24/7."

Newly-minted SVs

At the parade, 73 SV (Trainees) were also presented the formation patch to signify their completion of the two-week Basic Training. 

In his address, Commander SAFVC Colonel (COL) Ong Kok Wui, who reviewed the parade, commended the SVs for their commitment to serve. 

Noting that the SAFVC continued to attract people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, he said: "It is heartening to see more Singaporeans and PRs stepping forward to contribute to national defence and support National Service." 

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