Determined to serve as SAF specialists

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23aug18_news
23 Aug 2018 | MILESTONES

Determined to serve as SAF specialists

// Report by Thrina Tham 

// Photos by Tan Yong Quan

English 华文

When his buddy and another bunkmate caught chickenpox during their Specialist Cadet Course, 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Tedmund Ho's entire batch at the Naval Military Expert Institute had to be quarantined.

That meant they could not use certain classrooms and facilities, and had to take supplementary classes to keep up. As part of his training to become a navigation operator, 3SG Ho had to learn to use navigation and radar equipment as well as how to communicate while on the bridge. 

"It was quite demoralising because we had to leave camp later than everyone else, and book-in earlier as we couldn't take the same bus into (Changi Naval Base)," said 3SG Ho. 

On top of this, the 19-year-old also had a rigorous six-day work week as his Saturdays were spent rehearsing for the National Day Parade.

However, 3SG Ho chose to look on the bright side. "I did my best to perform in whatever training we were given, because I want to be able to contribute in the future when I go on board ship as an operator," he said.

3SG Ho's hard work paid off when he graduated from the Specialist Cadet School with a Golden Bayonet award at the 36th Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade (SCGP) on 23 Aug.

"The Golden Bayonet wasn't expected but it's a good start for me to know that what I'm doing is going in the right direction," he said.

Held at Pasir Laba Camp, the parade saw a total of 1,021 cadets, comprising 906 from the Singapore Army, 72 from the Republic of Singapore Navy and 43 from the Republic of Singapore Air Force graduating as Specialists of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).

The parade was reviewed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and for Education Indranee Rajah.

In her speech, Ms Indranee said that the SAF has evolved to respond to emerging and non-conventional threats posed by terrorism and cyberattacks. She also reminded the graduands of their duty to lead well. 

"As leaders in the SAF, your role extends beyond the battlefield to winning the hearts and minds of your soldiers. It is your duty to help the soldiers you lead understand why we need a strong defence," she said.

"Train them hard and train them safely. Give them the support and encouragement they need, even as you demand the very highest standards."

Graduating 19-year-old twins 3SG Haoron and 3SG Eeron Low found the support they needed from each other. They were initially disappointed when they were posted to different vocations but found motivation through sharing stories with each other. 

Said older twin 3SG Haoron: "(Eeron) had field camp one week before me and he told me what to expect so that I would be mentally prepared.

"In the end, we shared different experiences (as our vocations were different). He also came back a day earlier to shower but we did not," he added, with a laugh.

For Infantry soldier 3SG Izaan Redza Bin Norhaizat, completing his 24km route march was one of the proudest moments during his Specialist Cadet Course.

Although he was fasting at the time, the 19-year-old was spurred on by how everyone looked out for each other throughout the march. As a Section Commander, he hopes to imbue the same team spirit in his unit.

3SG Izaan said: "We had a section mate who wanted to give up because his back was hurting. We had just 8km left, so we decided to share the load and helped to carry some of his gear.

"In the end, we finished it together."

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