FIRST IN HIS FAMILY

Actions
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/50a85759-76df-4c96-825b-b638c5710a7e/08sep21_photo1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-50a85759-76df-4c96-825b-b638c5710a7e-nL4J..a /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/50a85759-76df-4c96-825b-b638c5710a7e/08sep21_photo1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-50a85759-76df-4c96-825b-b638c5710a7e-nL4J..a /web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/people/2021-Q3/08sep21_news1
/web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/people/2021-Q3/08sep21_news1
08sep21_news1
08 Sep 2021 | PEOPLE

FIRST IN HIS FAMILY

// Story by Gabriel Lee

// Photos by Ong Ji Xuan & Courtesy of 2LT Ilham

English 华文
2LT Ilham is one of the 193 cadets who were commissioned as officers on 8 Sep.

To most, becoming an officer of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) would already be a huge honour. But for 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Muhammad Ilham Rizqullah Bin Rohaizad, being commissioned holds special meaning for him as he is now the first in his extended family to become an officer.

Stepping up

Although the 21-year-old had held leadership positions in his polytechnic's National Cadet Corps and Silat Club, 2LT Ilham set his sights on qualifying for Officer Cadet School (OCS) only when he was undergoing Basic Military Training (BMT).

"I didn't put much thought into it when I was in school. The point that I wanted to become an officer was in BMT, when I realised that I wanted to step up to lead the men under me," he said.

2LT Ilham (second from right) with (from left) his maternal uncle Mr Jaafar Bin Omar's wife Mdm Faizah Bte Ab Rahmad, Mr Jaafar and his mother Mdm Jorimah Bte Omar.

2LT Ilham's uncle, who was exempted from National Service (NS) due to an illness, was also a key factor in his decision to work towards qualifying for OCS.

He said: "My uncle shared with me the experiences of his friends who have been through NS, as well the experiences of his friends (who are still serving). I felt motivated hearing their stories of how they made it into OCS despite the stringent selection criteria. I wanted to challenge myself."

Support by friends

Although 2LT Ilham did not face much difficulties in adapting to the physical training in BMT as he had trained prior to enlisting, the physical training in OCS was on a whole different level.

2LT Ilham finishing his 2.4km run as part of his IPPT in OCS.

"The physical training in OCS was tough. We had to do 4km endurance runs before progressing to 6km runs in order to acclimatise our fitness. We were also pushed by our OCS instructors to attain the Gold Award for our Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT)," 2LT Ilham recalled.

He added: "The lowest point during my time in OCS was when we had to carry heavy loads during a five-day exercise. We were all very exhausted and I had wanted to throw in the towel.

"I managed to pull through with the support of my peers. They were the ones who had my back and who were constantly supporting me. I didn't want to disappoint them," he said.

Speaking of peers, 2LT Ilham's time in OCS was particularly memorable. This was because he had enlisted with the Guards through a mono intake, and going to OCS meant getting to interact with cadets from various other units.

"I wanted to experience these nine months with other cadets, regardless of what Formation or unit they were from. In the SAF, we'll be working with people from other units anyway," he said.

2LT Ilham remarked: "I know that the friendships I forged in OCS with cadets of different races and religions will make it easier for me to work with others as a leader of the SAF in the future."

2LT Ilham's mother, Mdm Jorimah Bte Omar, proudly affixing the rank epaulette on his uniform.

His mother's pride

2LT Ilham, who hails from a single-parent family, says that his mother was very proud of his accomplishments. "I'm the only child, so she has all her hopes pinned on me to do my best."

Going ahead, 2LT Ilham plans to sign on as a Regular and to continue serving the nation as a Guardsman. "I want to contribute to the defence of my country and make my mother proud."

Suggested Reading
Longest-Running SG-US Exercise Returns to S'pore After 2 Years
Longest-Running SG-US Exercise Returns to S'pore After 2 Years
OPS & TRAINING
17-Jun-22

The quiet of the morning is shattered by the explosion of machine guns and assault rifles. The tall grasses part as infantry soldiers from the Unites States (US) Army, who had been lying in wait, bash through the thick vegetation.

Guardsman, Father, Role Model
Cover story
Guardsman, Father, Role Model
PEOPLE
14-Jun-22

This Father's Day, PIONEER finds out how a former Guards Formation Sergeant Major indirectly inspired his son to sign on, and how he runs a strict regime both in camp and at home.

Commando, doctor & national hurdler Feature
Commando, doctor & national hurdler
PEOPLE
06-Jun-22

This 27-year-old commando medical officer did Singapore proud by winning a silver medal in 110m hurdles at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam in May – this was Singapore's first medal at the event since 1989.

Building a Stronger Army for the Future: BG Neo Feature
Building a Stronger Army for the Future: BG Neo
COMMUNITY
26-May-22

Chief of Army Brigadier-General (BG) David Neo shares the Singapore Army's plans to transform training methods and shape its next-generation capabilities, with more activities resuming as Singapore moves into the COVID-19 endemic phase.

Top NSF & national paddler
Cover story
Top NSF & national paddler
PEOPLE
10-May-22

Thank you, Mum!
Cover story
Thank you, Mum!
COMMUNITY
09-May-22

This Mother's Day, watch recruits from Leopard Coy showing their appreciation for the support their mums have provided in their BMT journey.

Platoon Sergeant with a heart Feature
Platoon Sergeant with a heart
PEOPLE
05-Apr-22

1SG (NS) Ralph Lim, who heads food charity Mummy Yummy, hopes to inspire more people to step up and help those in need.

Making a Difference to the Lives of His Soldiers
Cover story
Making a Difference to the Lives of His Soldiers
PEOPLE
25-Mar-22

This Guards officer helps his soldiers to become the best version of themselves.

Bro, I've got your back Feature
Bro, I've got your back
PEOPLE
15-Mar-22

These twins were inseparable growing up. Now they chart their own path as part of different Services in NS, while giving each other moral support.

A Journey of Fitness, Friendship and Finding Meaning
A Journey of Fitness, Friendship and Finding Meaning
PEOPLE
09-Mar-22

When 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Steve Chia enlisted for National Service (NS) and started Basic Military Training (BMT) last January, he had a lot on his mind.