Stepping up as senior military experts

Actions
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/3ac5de4f-ee05-4073-b526-33b293cc5451/26jan24_news1_photo1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-3ac5de4f-ee05-4073-b526-33b293cc5451-oR3XhWL /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/3ac5de4f-ee05-4073-b526-33b293cc5451/26jan24_news1_photo1.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-3ac5de4f-ee05-4073-b526-33b293cc5451-oR3XhWL /web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/people/2024-Q1/26jan24_news1
/web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/people/2024-Q1/26jan24_news1
26jan24_news1
26 Jan 2024 | PEOPLE

Stepping up as senior military experts

//Story by Joshua de Souza / Photos by Chua Soon Lye & courtesy of interviewees

Why did they make a change and become military experts in the SAF? ME4 Nabilah Atiqah and ME4 Kishore share what inspired them in their journeys.

ME4 Nabilah Atiqah (left) and ME4 Kishore were among 122 SAF personnel who graduated as senior military experts on 25 Jan.

It started on the sands of Changi Beach, where a son and his father watched airplanes fly overhead from the nearby airport. The child pondered how "such a big machine could fly so high in the sky".

Now grown up, Military Expert (ME) 4 Kishore Nicholas Manimohan has the answers to that question, which fueled his journey to eventually join the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

The 30-year-old Air Force Engineer stood proud during the Senior ME Appointment Ceremony on 25 Jan as his father and mother affixed his new rank on his uniform. He was one of 122 newly minted senior MEs from across the four Services in the Singapore Armed Forces.

ME4 Kishore with his parents at his officer commissioning parade in 2017.
Years later, ME4 Kishore's parents are prouder than ever of his achievements as they affix the Senior ME rank onto his uniform.

From Bionix to F-16

An armored officer during his NSF (Full-time National Serviceman) days, ME4 Kishore operated the Bionix vehicle and served as an OPFOR (Opposing Force) Platoon Commander.

OPFOR troops fight as a realistic "enemy" to test and validate units under evaluation.

"In a year, we had about 40 to 50 outfield (training sessions). So the most memorable (memory) was the time we spent in the jungle together," said ME4 Kishore as he recounted the tough training he and his men underwent as part of OPFOR.

After completing his full-time NS, the former Aerospace Engineering student in Republic Polytechnic continued his education by pursuing Aircraft Systems Engineering at the Singapore Institute of Technology.

ME4 Kishore (left) receiving his sword from Chief of Defence Force Vice Admiral (VADM) Aaron Beng at the Senior ME Appointment Ceremony on 25 Jan.

In November 2022, he returned to join the Republic of Singapore Air Force and went through a second round of Basic Military Training and Officer Cadet School under the Military Domain Experts Scheme.

He felt no trepidation however, and gladly joined his younger peers as an active participant – even in modules like outfield navigation exercises that he had been exempted from.

"I had the option not to do it (because I'd already done it before), but I did it together with them…because I wanted to build the bond with the rest of the guys," he explained.

Now as an Air Force Engineer who works on the F-16 fighter jets, ME4 Kishore remains excited about deepening his knowledge about aircraft – just like the child who was full of curiosity about the planes he saw at Changi Beach.

"I want to continue becoming a better version of myself whom my parents will be proud of."

ME4 Nabilah Atiqah's eldest sister (right) and father (left), who inspired and supported her in her decision to become a Military Medical Expert, pinning the Senior ME epaulettes on her uniform.

From public hospital to military medicine

Also among the newly minted senior MEs that evening was 25-year-old ME4 Nabilah Atiqah Binte Abdul Radir, whose father and her eldest sister came to celebrate her achievement in becoming a Military Medical Expert in the Singapore Army.

"My dad and my siblings were very supportive (of me joining the SAF). They told me whichever pathway I choose, they'll be there to support me," said ME4 Nabilah Atiqah, who is the youngest of four children.

Her eldest sister is a nurse, which inspired ME4 Nabilah Atiqah to study nursing in university. She got her degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2021, and took a gap year after graduation.

ME4 Nabilah Atiqah (left) in 2020 as an NUS nursing student during training.

"I wasn't very sure what I wanted to do after my studies… I wanted a job that was not routine," said ME4 Nabilah Atiqah.

The road ahead became clearer after she learnt about nursing alumnae ME4 Fadilah Bte Jubir, who had also joined the SAF.

"I came across my senior, ME4 Fadilah, on our school website. She looked very sharp standing tall and holding her SAR (Singapore Assault Rifle) 21.

"I was inspired by her and I wanted to do something different, to step out of my comfort zone and develop myself personally."

ME4 Nabilah Atiqah with her proud father, during her Basic Military Training graduation parade in August 2022.
ME4 Nabilah Atiqah (left) receiving her sword from VADM Beng.

Following her senior's footsteps, ME4 Nabilah Atiqah enlisted in June 2022. Her prior training and education in nursing proved useful when she joined the Medical Officer Cadet Course (MOCC).

For example, skills such as performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and administering IV (intravenous insertion) – which she learnt during her nursing studies – are also techniques that military medics must be proficient in.

"(As Military Medical Experts,) we focus on improving the training for the medics. I feel like I can advise how they can improve their training on the ground," said ME4 Nabilah Atiqah, who hopes to put her nursing experience to good use.

The opportunities given to grow as a leader during the MOCC has also given her greater confidence in taking up her new role as a senior ME.

"I developed in terms of my mental capacity, and I grew stronger. The entire training was tough but, at the end of the day, it really moulded me in becoming who I am today."

Suggested Reading
The Air Force makes me feel alive: ME6 Sathananthar
The Air Force makes me feel alive: ME6 Sathananthar
PEOPLE
28-Nov-23

It's no surprise that ME6 Sathananthar Suresh loves serving in the RSAF. Find out why he's been in the air force for 28 years and what keeps him going.

Brothers in arms at Ex Forging Sabre
Brothers in arms at Ex Forging Sabre
PEOPLE
05-Oct-23

Brothers ME3 Yew Boon Leng and ME2 Yew Boon Siong reunited at the exercise for the first time in nine months after being deployed in the US.

Helicopter parent
Cover story
Helicopter parent
PEOPLE
08-Sep-23

To his trainees, he's like a father showing them the way. For ME3 Anthony Gilbert – who's saved lives and flown the Singapore flag high at NDP in his 42-year career – it's all about helping young flight engineers find meaning in their work.

Finding their way into DIS
Finding their way into DIS
PEOPLE
19-Jul-23

One was inspired to become a soldier after attending her former students' Basic Military Training (BMT) graduation parades; the other is carrying on the legacy of his late father, who was a warrant officer in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Military Expert (ME) 4 Evon Khoo and ME4 Kaviraj S/O Anbalagan show that it's never too late to find your calling or chase your passion.

A good serve Feature
A good serve
PEOPLE
07-Jul-23

She used to serve on the volleyball court. Now, she's serving in the Air Force and loving it.

They found love while serving overseas Feature
They found love while serving overseas
PEOPLE
03-May-23

Air force engineers ME2 Yogaraj and ME2 Lai are based in the Peace Carvin II detachment for the second time – first as colleagues, now as a married couple.

Vet appointed as SAF Senior Military Expert
Vet appointed as SAF Senior Military Expert
PEOPLE
19-Jan-23

After completing his Full-time National Service as a Military Policeman in 2006, Military Expert (ME) 4(A) Lin Hong Yao left for Australia to study for a degree in veterinary medicine. He later stayed in the country to work as a vet.

Sailor, engineer & mum
Sailor, engineer & mum
PEOPLE
13-Jul-22

She joined the Navy with a dream to see the world. Two decades on, she's found not only a new purpose in serving the nation and nurturing naval engineers, but also the love of her life.

My Buddy, My Bestie, My Twin
My Buddy, My Bestie, My Twin
PEOPLE
01-Mar-22

These twins were together from primary school to university, and were even buddies in BMT. Despite being in different squadrons and having their own families now, their deep bond still remains.