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
Multi-Gen Military-Fam
Cover story
Multi-Gen Military-Fam
PEOPLE
17-Jan-22

Cousins MAJ Vanderput Ian James Valence and 3WO Aeria Timothy James spill the beans on what it's like growing up in a large family with a rich military history.

Outfield nightingale Feature
Outfield nightingale
PEOPLE
12-Jan-22

Never too late to pursue your passion: In PIONEER's "From Desk to Field" series, find out why ME4 Nur Fadilah Bte Jubir, a former nurse and SAFVC volunteer, traded her scrubs for green fatigues!

From teacher to soldier Feature
From teacher to soldier
PEOPLE
05-Jan-22

CPT Fionne Lai went from teaching primary school students to guiding soldiers. Eight years on, she's still enjoying every minute of being a soldier and a teacher.

Shy Soldier to Confident Leader
Shy Soldier to Confident Leader
PEOPLE
10-Dec-21

He used to be a timid guy, but the leadership roles he took on in Officer Cadet School (OCS) helped him to step out of his comfort zone and become more confident.

Overcoming the odds to become a Specialist
Overcoming the odds to become a Specialist
PEOPLE
12-Nov-21

Being diagnosed with possible muscle dystrophy did not stop this newly-minted specialist from pursuing his passion to becoming a combat-fit soldier.

Kids Try: Combat Medic
Cover story
Kids Try: Combat Medic
PEOPLE
08-Oct-21

Do sisters Puteri Nur Qalesya, 9, and Puteri Nur Qaifa, 8, have what it takes to be little combat medics? In PIONEER's Children's Day special, they visit the SAF Medical Training Institute, where many soldiers like their father, Major Muhammad Redza, go to learn basic life-saving skills.

Training soldiers, touching lives Feature
Training soldiers, touching lives
PEOPLE
01-Oct-21

MAJ Muhammad Redza Bin Mohd Asri treats his soldiers like his siblings, is not afraid to ask for brutally honest feedback and enjoys making a difference in his trainees' lives.

Fighting together as an integrated force
Cover story
Fighting together as an integrated force
OPS & TRAINING
24-Sep-21

Land and air elements worked hand-in-hand at Exercise Forging Sabre 2021 to give a clear picture of the battlefield and find the most optimal strike asset to take down the various hostile targets.

Smarter, more integrated fighting force Feature
Smarter, more integrated fighting force
OPS & TRAINING
23-Sep-21

It's the SAF's first integrated exercise since the COVID-19 pandemic, and land and air forces came together seamlessly to put their interoperability to the test.

"BMT Artist" captures life on Pulau Tekong Feature
"BMT Artist" captures life on Pulau Tekong
PEOPLE
17-Sep-21

Meet Private Asher Ong - he gets busy when others are resting during admin time, filling up his notebook with sketches of his life at the Basic Military Training Centre. The 21-year-old has made over 200 sketches and notes over the past two months!