From overweight recruit to Golden Bayonet recipient and Military Police (MP) specialist, 3SG Muhammad Syukri Bin Sutresno shares his NS journey and why he intends to sign on.
It was 2am when 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Syukri, who was on duty, received an alert from his guard commander about a bomb threat at the guardhouse in Mowbray Camp.
Wasting no time, he and his fellow MP troopers rang the turnout alarm and rushed to wake and evacuate the other soldiers within the compound.
This was part of a 24-hour-long company-level exercise held this June. An armourer for the exercise, 3SG Syukri had to act swiftly to supply weapons and ammunition to the Quick Response Force (QRF) which was activated to handle the bomb threat.
This training scenario opened his eyes to the important role that an MP plays in safeguarding military camps and bases.
"What we faced in the exercise (that day) may one day be a real-life threat that we could be facing," said the 21-year-old MP specialist from Island Defence Training Institute (IDTI).
3SG Syukri also plans to sign on as a Regular in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). "Some people may think that being an MP is slack, but we are actually the frontliners who protect every SAF camp from threats and dangers.
"We always have to be on the ball because you never know when a threat is coming."
From fat to fit
3SG Syukri’s route to becoming a specialist was not an easy one. Formerly an overweight recruit weighing 120kg, he has come a long way from his hefty days after going through Basic Military Training and the Specialist Cadet Course (SCC).
"You need to be fit to become an MP and I had to run a lot during my course – from 4km to 10km runs, as well as the uphill and downhill routes.
"I also got a gold for my Individual Physical Proficiency Test during SCC, which is something that I thought I could never achieve," said 3SG Syukri, who now weighs a lean 75kg.
The Golden Bayonet recipient was among 1,139 cadets who graduated as specialists and military experts of the SAF on 11 Aug. Of the graduands, 938 were from the Singapore Army, 87 were from the Republic of Singapore Navy, 43 were from the Republic of Singapore Air Force and 71 were from Joint.
To commemorate the occasion, decentralised small-scale indoor parades will be held at Pasir Laba Camp and across various Training Institutes from 11 to 19 Aug.
Being a good role model
Addressing the graduands in a recorded video message as the Reviewing Officer, Minister of State for Communications and Information & National Development Tan Kiat How spoke about the importance of training hard to maintain the SAF's high state of operational readiness, while also ensuring safety.
He added that caring for soldiers was the fundamental building block of good leadership: "Your rank may command attention, at least for a while, but your leadership is what commands enduring respect. And that has to start by being authentic and truly caring for the well-being of people under your charge.
"Your soldiers respect you, not because you are smarter or fitter, but because you care and lead by example."
Mr Tan's words were not lost on 3SG Syukri, who hopes to be a good role model and share a close bond with his soldiers.
"I want to be a passionate leader who brings out the best in my soldiers. Being a sergeant is about being accountable and responsible not only for myself but also for my men.
"I also want to build a close bond with the people whom I work with, because it is only with strong bonds that things can be done smoothly and efficiently."