She held her own as the only servicewoman in her Combat Medic Course to be named as platoon best trainee. He believes in developing the talents of his soldiers to help them make meaningful contributions.
Today, Military Expert (ME) 3 Jayanthi D/O Armugam and Senior Warrant Officer (SWO) Omar Bin Osman are both playing active roles as mentors to young soldiers in the Singapore Armed Force (SAF). On 21 Feb, they were recognised for their contributions to the SAF and years of dedicated service at the National Day Awards Investiture (NDAI).
Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Chief Medical Instructor ME3 Jayanthi always knew she wanted to pursue a career in nursing. After attending a talk on the Joint Polytechnic-SAF Diploma Scheme, the self-professed adventure-seeker decided to make the leap of faith and take on an unconventional healthcare career path.
Even though she knew she was joining a male-majority environment, she was still daunted to find that she was the only female trainee in her Combat Medic Course!
"I did feel out of place in the beginning. It was overwhelming because of the loads we had to carry, and I wasn't very physically fit then. But with my classmates' help, encouragement and motivation, I even emerged as platoon best!" said the 44-year-old.
ME3 Jayanthi (left) receiving the Efficiency Medal from Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad at the ceremony on 21 Feb. She was also awarded the Long Service Medal, marking 25 years in the SAF.
"When I first enlisted, I wasn't a very confident person. But now that I've been here for 25 years, I can see that I've become more mature, wise and confident," she recounted.
Today, she is a part of a mentorship programme, where she has been mentoring new female medics for the last eight years. "I guide my mentees to overcome limitations that they may think they have, some of which are psychological, such as being too shy to open up. I give them advice on how to be more outspoken and challenge their limits."
And she has this advice for other young ladies looking to join the SAF: "Don't feel intimidated by the military. Get out of your comfort zone, because you are more than what you think you are."
As a child, SWO Omar's late grandfather would tell him stories about life during the Japanese Occupation. Hearing about the hardships his family endured made him determined to do his part to protect the nation.
Currently the Sergeant Major of 9th Division/Infantry, he continues to impress this message of the importance of defence upon the young soldiers and Warrant Officers and Specialists that he meets. "I share snippets of my grandfather's stories, and tell them that if we are not strong, we will get bullied," he said.
SWO Omar (left) receiving his Long Service Medal from Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen. In his 25-year career in the Army, he has worked with countless soldiers across all ages and ranks.
Mentoring and developing young soldiers is something that he holds close to his heart. "Every individual is unique and we need to understand their background so that we can find the best job for them. We have a lot of talent and a lot of people, and if you match their talent to the job, it will be a win-win for them and the organization," said the 48-year-old.
He recalled a recent incident when he visited Operationally Ready National Servicemen undergoing their evaluation during In-camp Training: "I was their Regimental Sergeant Major (when they were Full-time National Servicemen seven years ago). It was good to see the battalion, that then-Commanding Officer Brigadier-General Wilson Low and I had raised, continue to maintain their standards and perform well. This is testimony to our work in shaping and grooming them back in the day."
Dr Ng (left) speaking to some of the NDAI award recipients. A total of 792 personnel from the Ministry of Defence and SAF were awarded the Commendation/Efficiency Medal and Long Service Medal, in recognition of their outstanding performance, dedication to duty and service to the nation.