Training to be a leader of men

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20feb20_news1
20 Feb 2020 | PEOPLE

Training to be a leader of men

// Story by Thrina Tham 

// Photos by Kenneth Lin

3SG Toh pulled through tough training to graduate with a Silver Bayonet.

Going out with her family when she was young, 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Catherine Toh often heard others calling out to her father with a "Encik" or "Warrant Toh" greeting.

"I didn't understand these friendly greetings back then, but now I see that it was because of their respect for him," said 3SG Toh of her father, Military Expert 3 (ME3) Toh Kok Chai, who serves as a Regular in the Singapore Armed Forces' Ammunition Command.

Today, 3SG Toh is proud to be following in her father's footsteps.

3SG Toh celebrating her graduation with her parents, ME3 Toh (left) and Madam Jongjit Meephon, after receiving her rank epaulettes from her father.

On 20 Feb, the newly minted specialist was awarded the Silver Bayonet at the 42nd Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade (SCGP) held at Pasir Laba Camp.

"From this course, I’ve learnt the heavy responsibilities of being a sergeant – having to excel in our field while looking out for the safety of our men and ensuring discipline," said the 21-year-old combat engineer.

The 42nd SCGP, reviewed by Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, saw 1,050 cadets celebrate the completion of their 22-week Specialist Cadet Course (SCS).

In light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019, enhanced safety measures were also implemented at the parade. These included the submission of travel declarations and temperature taking for all guests. The number of invited guests was also reduced to minimise attendees.

3SG Toh (centre, in spectacles) participating in a SAFTI Military Institute 4km run last September as part of her SCS. Photo credit: Specialist Cadet School Facebook.

3SG Toh recalled the challenge of juggling fitness training as well as intense studying at the Engineering Training Institute (ETI).

"There was a lot of studying on the types of equipment we will use and we had many lectures and tests before we could obtain our Basic Explosive Ordnance Disposal badge."

Training ramped up especially during the Professional Term to prepare her for her role in the unit.

"The schedule and training was packed with armoured engineer lessons and going outfield," said 3SG Toh, who will be posted to serve as a Section Commander at the 38th Battalion, Singapore Combat Engineers (38 SCE) following her Basic Warfighter-Platoon Sergeant course.

The armoured engineer unit is responsible for clearing minefields and bridging gaps to provide mobility support to Armour units.

3SG Toh (far left) and her ETI platoon mates out for a night of bonding during one of their nights-out. Photo credit: 3SG Toh.

3SG Toh credits her trainers for being patient and encouraging to excel in her course. "They would always address my concerns and help me focus on training.

"ETI has been like a family to me. Whenever we face obstacles, we always advance and overcome (them) together."

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