More than 500 MINDEF & SAF personnel promoted

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27jun19_news2
27 Jun 2019 | MILESTONES

More than 500 MINDEF & SAF personnel promoted

// REPORT by Chia Chong Jin

// PHOTOS by Chai Sian Liang & Courtesy of MSG (NS) Lim

English 华文

Having been with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for 22 years, Senior Lieutenant Colonel (SLTC) Fairoz Bin Hassan is no stranger to military training and exercises. However, the defining moment in his extensive career was in early 2005, when he was deployed to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, as a United Nations (UN) liaison officer for the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami operations.

"My role was to bring the UN, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and foreign militaries together to help the people on the ground," said SLTC Fairoz. "It was a sobering experience to see the devastation (of the tsunami), but I also got to witness the value of our Singapore military in a multinational and multi-agency context."

In his current appointment as Commander Army Training Evaluation Centre (ATEC), he is the chief tester for army units going through evaluation, and is involved in validating the operational readiness of those units. "My key responsibility is to shape the mindset and behaviour of the servicemen to achieve the tasks…safely," he added.

Receiving the promotion came as a pleasant surprise for the 40-year-old, and he said: "It's great that the organisation values my contributions and my responsibility in the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces)."

SLTC Fairoz was among the 589 Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and SAF personnel to be promoted this year. He received his promotion certificate at a ceremony held at MINDEF on 27 Jun.

At the event, which was graced by Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, the certificates were presented to Regulars and Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) promoted to the next higher rank. The promotions will take effect on 1 Jul.
    
The promotees included Chief of Air Force Brigadier-General (BG) Kelvin Khong, who was promoted to the rank of Major-General, as well as Sergeant Major of the Army Senior Warrant Officer (SWO) Chua Hock Guan, who was one of the two highest ranking warrant officers promoted at the ceremony, to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.

Another promotee was Major (MAJ) Lynn Lee. She is the first Gulfstream 550 Airborne Early Warning (G550-AEW) aircraft female pilot in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

She currently holds the position of Senior Force Transformation Officer in the Joint Plans and Transformation Department, where she is involved in strategic planning, long-term planning and project management to deliver capabilities for the future of SAF.

Her 14-year journey (and counting!) in the RSAF definitely had its highs and lows. One of the highs was being the first freshly graduated pilot to enter 111 Squadron (SQN) back in 2011. "Our squadron was starting up on a new platform (back then), so I was basically placed in a pool of senior pilots who had way more experience than I had," said the 32-year-old.

"I felt honoured and grateful to my commanders for giving me that trust and confidence by putting me in the squadron as the first fresh out-of-school pilot."

MAJ Lee's confidence boost didn't start there though. It was her Secondary Three Mathematics teacher that got the ball rolling.

"There was an inaugural leadership camp that my secondary school was organising for student leaders, and after one of the lessons, she called me up to class and told me to sign up for it," explained the Methodist Girls' School alumni. “That was one of the first few acts which showed her belief in me and my potential.” 

Her teacher was present at the promotion ceremony this evening, and MAJ Lee said: “(This promotion) is a milestone for me in my journey as a leader…(and it was) great to honour my teacher by inviting her for it.”

For Master Sergeant (MSG) (NS) Eddie Lim, a Platoon Sergeant in the Naval Diving Unit, one of the most memorable experiences of his National Service (NS) happened during an overseas In-Camp Training (ICT) session.

"It was a crucial one as we were validating certain standard operating procedures (SOPs)," said the 38-year-old property agent. "It was challenging as well, since we were given a time frame for planning that was shorter than usual, and there was an uneven mixture of experience as the team consisted junior and senior platoons."

"With teamwork, trust and clear communication, we managed to achieve the task in an even shorter time frame than we expected, and we validated the important SOPs… In the true spirit of NDU; 'Nothing stands in our way'."

When asked how he felt after receiving his promotion, he said that it was a surprise to him, but he felt thankful for being given the opportunity to contribute more as a 3rd Warrant Officer.

"This is a recognition by the SAF and our Navy, that our NSmen do have a role to play, to lead, and to serve."

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