When Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) (NS) (Dr) Darryl Chew completed his 10 years of Operationally Ready National Service in 2018, he could have taken time to focus on work and family.
His career was progressing as a surgeon at the Singapore General Hospital and KK Women's and Children's Hospital. He was also part of the academic faculty for surgical specialists, teaching them the art of surgery.
Instead, he decided to extend his service under the ROVERS (Reservist on Voluntary Extended Reserve Service) scheme. He signed up for three years of service; and then another three last year.
LTC (NS) (Dr) Chew, who is now Deputy Commanding Officer of the Republic of Singapore Air Force's 1 Medical Squadron (SQN), said: "I was progressing in my career in the public healthcare system…so I felt that I could bring into the squadron updated medical training concepts."
The 43-year-old NSman (Operationally Ready National Serviceman) has since helped to improve the squadron's training for heliborne medical evacuation.
Using the latest medical education concepts, he helped develop an updated training framework which centred around acquiring specific competencies. This was implemented in 2021.
"Now, NSman medical officers and medics of different skill levels are able to manage casualties of certain difficulty… This training system has helped us individualise and personalise each NSman's In-Camp Training (ICT) to achieve the best training outcomes."
For his dedication and service, LTC (NS) (Dr) Chew received the Commendation Medal (Military) at the National Day Awards Investiture from Senior Minister for Defence Heng Chee How on 31 May.
A total of 99 Commendation Medals, 147 Efficiency Medals and 512 Long Service Medals were presented to both military and non-military personnel this year.
One of the most notable moments in LTC (NS) (Dr) Chew's years of service was when he was deployed as part of the Singapore Armed Forces' humanitarian assistance and disaster efforts after the Indonesian Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004.
Then a Staff Officer with the Air Force Medical Service, his role was to help coordinate logistics locally and send them to the on-site medical teams.
"We had very little time to assemble all the equipment and we also weren't sure of what the requirements on the ground was," he recalled.
"We had to work very creatively to obtain certain equipment and deliver it to the teams. I was very motivated (to help) the medical officers who were there."
The father-of-two said that planning ahead and having strong family and employer support have helped him to juggle between family, work and NS commitments.
On receiving the National Day Award, he said: "It's quite an honour. But, of course, I have a lot of people to thank because this award is not an individual effort. It really is a team effort."