Ready to serve

Actions
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/a202a4df-c6f4-4fc8-88ab-df69a890d477/jun18_people1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-a202a4df-c6f4-4fc8-88ab-df69a890d477-mwhEICT /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/a202a4df-c6f4-4fc8-88ab-df69a890d477/jun18_people1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-a202a4df-c6f4-4fc8-88ab-df69a890d477-mwhEICT /web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/people/2018-Q2/jun18_people3
/web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/people/2018-Q2/jun18_people3
jun18_people3
01 Jun 2018 | PEOPLE

Ready to serve

// Story Chia Chong Jin  / Photos Chua Soon Lye

English Melayu

Loud footsteps thump across the deck of the merchant vessel as sailors from an ambulance craft race to evacuate a casualty. While the medical team tries to resuscitate him, the craft speeds towards shore where an ambulance is waiting to take him to the nearest medical centre or hospital.

This scenario was part of Exercise Apex 2013, a gruelling two-week inter-agency maritime exercise that MSG (NS) Viknesvaran recalled as part of his most memorable ICT.

For three consecutive days, MSG (NS) Viknesvaran and his crew worked 13-hour shifts. After reporting to Tuas Naval Base at 7am, they brought equipment such as life vests onto the ambulance craft before performing checks on the engines and generators to ensure that the craft was ready for sail.

The team also assisted the medical crew during casualty evacuation.

"Even though it was a very busy and tiring time, it was also fulfilling as we went through team building and bonding sessions," recalled the National Service Excellence Award recipient.

A Chief Weapon Electronic Technician from 182 Squadron (SQN) in the Republic of Singapore Navy’s Maritime Security Task Force, he is in charge of the engine department on the ambulance craft.

Whenever a new batch of servicemen joins the team, the 33-year-old takes it upon himself to mentor the rookies and share his knowledge and experience of operating the craft.

For example, MSG (NS) Viknesvaran will assist his ICT mates once he is done with his engine checks, such as helping the seamen with the unravelling of ropes and keeping a watchful eye on everyone’s safety during slip-off and sailing, said Major (NS) Xavier Lee. 

The Commanding Officer (CO) of Master Ambulance Craft Medical Team explained: "MSG (NS) Viknesvaran always goes beyond his primary engineering duties and volunteers during seamanship or deck operations. 

"He will not hesitate in giving the deck crew a hand during slip-off, coming alongside, casualties transfer and even bridge lookout duties."
 

MSG (NS) Viknesvaran (right) conducting an inspection of a 100m range with a range warden from one of the external vendors contracted by the SAF.
For MSG (NS) Viknesvaran (second from left), his ICT mates are a source of motivation for giving his all during ICT.

Rejoining the force

A former Navy Regular, MSG (NS) Viknesvaran was a Weapon Electrical Specialist in the engine department of a patrol vessel in 182 SQN. 

After leaving the Service in 2010, he worked as an operations executive in a multinational oil and gas corporation.

He then took up a part-time course in Murdoch University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international business and management. 

Deciding that he was more comfortable working in a military environment, MSG (NS) Viknesvaran joined the Ministry of Defence last February under the Defence Executive Officer scheme.

As Executive (Ranges) from the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF’s) Training Resource Management Centre (TRMC), his role includes managing SAF ranges such as the Individual Marksmanship Trainer and Multi-Mission Range Complex. Apart from managing the external vendors who look after the ranges, he is also on standby 24/7 for any issues that servicemen may face at the training ranges.

Putting in heart and soul

With a recent addition to his family (his wife gave birth to their son Hiren in April), the father-of-two (his elder daughter Tanya is a year old) often finds himself having to juggle many commitments — family, work and NS. 

What helps him are strong family support and good time management. 

"I try to keep my weekends as strictly family time," he said. "I will discuss my schedule with my wife and she understands if I need to train for my Individual Physical Proficiency Test. She is very supportive, and I am thankful for that."

His ability to multitask has not gone unnoticed by Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (NS) Sing Kee Hong, CO of TRMC in Headquarters Army Training and Doctrine Command. 

Said LTC (NS) Sing: "It’s fantastic that, even while running the TRMC, MSG (NS) Viknesvaran is able to contribute to the operational readiness of his NS unit. 

"It is not easy for any NSman to tell his family that he needs to go back and serve, especially when he has two young children to take care of, but he handles his responsibilities very well."

For MSG (NS) Viknesvaran, his friendship with his ICT mates is a source of motivation. 

"Since you can’t run away from ICT, might as well put your heart and soul into it and build a good relationship with your ICT mates," he said with a laugh. 

"I’m already looking forward to the next ICT 'cos it’s an opportunity to catch up with my friends!"
 

Suggested Reading
Still you, but better
Still you, but better
PEOPLE
26-Nov-20

Golden Bayonet recipient Specialist Cadet (SCT) Michael Lee may be more comfortable making music than shouting commands, but he’s learnt to come out of his shell and take charge when the situation calls for it.

Recognition for manager who supports NS
Recognition for manager who supports NS
PEOPLE
25-Nov-20

Safety culture now stronger in the SAF: External Panel
Safety culture now stronger in the SAF: External Panel
OPS & TRAINING
05-Nov-20

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has made notable progress in reinforcing safety as a priority at every level.

Maritime exercises test national agencies' response against security threats
Cover story
Maritime exercises test national agencies' response against security threats
OPS & TRAINING
04-Nov-20

Two high-key maritime security exercises – Exercise Highcrest and Exercise Apex – were held in October and November to test the coordination of whole-of-government responses to maritime security threats amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

PIONEER Kids: Guess my job! Feature
PIONEER Kids: Guess my job!
PEOPLE
09-Oct-20

Our SAF parents face off with their kids in a special Draw On My Back challenge, to help them learn more about what Mum and Dad does to defend Singapore.

A soldier's first 24km
A soldier's first 24km
OPS & TRAINING
02-Oct-20

An endless sea of bobbing helmets, blisters on your feet, and your field pack pressing against your aching back. Any soldier will likely remember their experience of doing the 24km route march in BMT.

Sail of a lifetime
Cover story
Sail of a lifetime
OPS & TRAINING
25-Sep-20

What is it like to sail nonstop for 67 straight days? Find out how the crew of RSS Supreme spent their time on board their home away from home, in one of the Singapore navy's first overseas exercises since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning to Lead, Excel and Overcome
Learning to Lead, Excel and Overcome
MILESTONES
14-Sep-20

He received a rude culture shock when enlisting into National Service (NS) in October last year, having never stepped foot in Singapore.

Defending S'pore skies during COVID-19
Cover story
Defending S'pore skies during COVID-19
OPS & TRAINING
01-Sep-20

Donning masks, cohorting arrangements, isolation in camp – life has changed for the airmen and women of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) amid the COVID-19 pandemic as they continue to watch over the skies and do their part for the community.

S’pore navy resumes overseas training, leads 8 ships in RIMPAC
Cover story
S’pore navy resumes overseas training, leads 8 ships in RIMPAC
OPS & TRAINING
31-Aug-20

It’s the largest international maritime exercise, bringing together navies from all over the world to cooperate in complex missions. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) takes on a bigger role in this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise, which was held entirely at sea due to the COVID-19 pandemic.