What does it take to be part of the Warrant Officer and Specialist (WOSpec) Corps? Find out in MINDEF's latest Web series on YouTube!
For the longest time, the WOSpec Corps was best known for its role in bringing order and discipline to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
However, over the years, the WOSpecs have been taking up greater leadership roles, and on top of being disciplinarians, they are now also in charge of shaping young men into soldiers.
The six-part series, titled Warfighter, Trainer, Leader, aims to detail this transformation of the WOSpecs' roles. Uploaded weekly from late April, the series will feature one Warrant Officer, Specialist or Military Expert in each episode. Viewers will learn about their responsibilities and the various types of training they conduct.
Through this series, Defence Media Centre Senior Video Journalist Mano Mahendran wants to show the audience that WOSpecs have become accomplished leaders in their own right.
"During my time in National Service, WOSpecs used the top-down approach when giving orders and their roles resembled more of a disciplinary master's. In contrast, you can now see that they've become coaches and motivators for soldiers, who are also more willing to approach them for help."
He added: "They have vast operational and training experiences, and most importantly, each of them leads by his or her own beliefs and philosophies... For example, Senior Warrant Officer (SWO) Leong Teng Kee believes that a leader should lead by example and if one doesn't do that, he isn't a leader at all."
Setting an example
On being a leader, SWO Leong, who is the Chief Master Trainer of Infantry Training Institute, said: "I need to be competent, confident and proficient in what I do to earn the respect and trust of my people. If I prove myself to be effective in training and combat, then they'll be more likely to follow my orders without doubting my abilities."
The seasoned soldier, who has been with SAF since 1985, certainly has the experience to back up his words. He has been on many missions and exercises his latest was to Nepal in 2015 as part of humanitarian assistance efforts after an earthquake struck the country.
One of the most important things he has learnt is the importance of fitness. He believes that by staying in tip-top condition, soldiers will have a strong mind and body to overcome any challenge thrown their way.
"Being fit gives you that extra confidence you need to complete your missions, and makes sure you don't feel lethargic when you're out in the field. Exercising also helps to instil discipline and resilience in soldiers. This ensures that they are able to motivate one another to push on, when obstacles arise, to achieve mission success."
Diving into deep waters
Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Seck Wai Kong, who is also featured in the series, echoed SWO Leong's views: "I believe in mind over body."
Said the School Sergeant Major of the Naval Diving Unit's (NDU's) Frogman School: "You have to rewire your mindset when times are difficult to give you the will to complete your task. I always talk to my men and give them a different perspective when they are faced with trying times so that they can overcome what they felt was impossible."
Having joined the SAF in 1996, MWO Seck has seen the SAF evolve and adapt to changes in security threats. He believes that you have to be actively involved in events in order to stay ahead of these changes.
For him, building a good network of close friends helps him to stay up to date. Having a keen interest in exploring boundaries and challenging the norms has also helped him come up with effective training programmes for his men to adapt to such changes.
When asked what drove him to always stay on top of the SAF's latest happenings, MWO Seck said: "NDU has made me into who I am today and I would like to give back to the community. I want to continue to do my best to make sure that NDU progresses."
Also in the series are Air Crew Specialist Leader 2WO Vijaikumar; Medical Trainer Military Expert 3 Savitri; Air Defence Specialist Master Sergeant Cecilia Ng; and Motor Transport Warrant Officer 3WO Mohamad Rafi bin Mohamed Gazali. Look out for them on MINDEF's YouTube channel!
What's kept me going after all these years are the people. We have a great community in the SAF and that made me stay in the service even after 32 years.
NDU has been my home and the people have been my family. The unit is everything to me and I hope to bring them to greater heights.