The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has set up a new dedicated training school for service-fit recruits. Under the programme, these recruits – who are bound for service vocations in the SAF – will experience Basic Military Training (BMT) which has some elements of the training that their combat-fit peers go through.
The aim of this move is to create a common BMT experience and enhance the NS experience for soldiers, said Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How during his visit to the SAF's Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) School V on 18 Mar.
Service-fit recruits now undergo a common nine-week BMT comprising a four-week basic soldiering phase followed by a five-week vocation specialisation phase.
They will share defining BMT moments with their peers, such as the Weapon Presentation Ceremony and combined graduation parade.
Prior to the establishment of BMTC School V in October 2018, PES C and E recruits underwent a four-week basic soldiering phase and a two-week military assimilation programme respectively, followed by vocational training and active service in their units. PES stands for Physical Employment Standards.
During his visit, Mr Heng was briefed on the BMTC School V's centralised training structure and spoke to some of the recruits participating in the Service-Fit Fitness Programme (SFFP). The SFFP, for PES C recruits, is an initiative that tailors fitness training according to the recruits' PES status and abilities.
The enhanced training curriculum allows recruits to participate in more training activities. For example, PES E recruits will also experience handling the Singapore Assault Rifle 21, or SAR 21, in an indoor virtual firing range.
"The mission and purpose for BMTC School V is to transform recruits into confident, committed and competent soldiers (who are better prepared for their next phase of training)," said Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Sim Kian Hwa, Commanding Officer of BMTC School V.
The new programme has been well received by service-fit soldiers. "BMTC School V is unique in the sense that it is centralised, so the commanders are able to (better) focus on the service-fit soldiers," said Private (PTE) Ethan Jian-Hui Maniam, a PES C Full-Time National Serviceman who recently graduated from BMTC School V.
"I feel like I have had a very genuine BMT experience, thanks to the training structure and curriculum (in BMTC School V)."
PTE Ethan's mother, Mrs Doreen Maniam, said that BMTC School V is a safe place for her son to train in. She said: "When my son first enlisted, the commanding officers told us that they will take care of the service-fit recruits, bearing in mind the conditions that they have.
"Although they have physical (training) activities, they moderate it through a self-regulated programme."
1st Warrant Officer (1WO) Azmi bin Aziz, who is a Platoon Commander in BMTC School V, said: "Although the recruits are in service vocations, they are no different from soldiers in combat vocations, and their contributions are also very important towards defence."