I am 2SG Kenny Ng, an Aircrew Specialist (ACS) with 126 SQN in Helicopter Group, Participation Command. I took the unusual path of signing on only when I was nearing my Operationally Ready Date (ORD), after having served almost my entire Full-time National Service obligation. Although such a path might seem inconceivable to many, I chose to believe otherwise. Here is my Air Force Story.
I was posted to the RSAF as an ACS after my Specialist Cadet School phase. At that time, I was secretly relieved, thinking that I have left behind my Army days of having to stay outfield. I thought to myself then, "Surely it cannot be that tough to fly around in an aircraft!" Little did I know that I was about to be proven very wrong in all aspects of my thinking. I remember waking up to my first morning in the jungle, when the heat and humidity hit me hard. We had been warned about it, but nothing quite prepares you for that experience. There were tropical birds singing in the trees, but there were also a host of insects that saw us as sources of food. Survival in such an environment requires one to be physically agile, mentally strong, alert and easily adaptable to changes. My parents noticed the change in me, as they remarked that I have become more confident since returning from Brunei. I believed others who have participated in the training can attest to this experience.
"It came to me as a shock when I discovered that I had to undergo a jungle survival package as part of my training. It was not the usual SAFTI or Tekong outfield; I had to experience the wilderness and challenge myself to survive in an unknown terrain."
While I knew that I have grown tremendously in my time with the RSAF, I was pleasantly surprised when my supervisors noticed the change in me too. The efforts that I had put into my training were recognised on many occasions, when I was awarded a Safety Letter of Commendation and numerous Outstanding Serviceman of the Month Awards. However, my proudest moment was when the 126 SQN management nominated me as the Best ACS of the Year, even though I was only an NSF working amongst other Regular ACS.
On reflection, 126 SQN has played a vital part in my development. It created a learning culture where even the most junior among us are not afraid to ask questions and seek clarifications. Every day you will definitely learn something new from the instructors or officers. They will never turn down a question and will always take time despite their busy schedules to impart their knowledge. Perhaps most importantly, the SQN believes in our people as the core of mission success, and that made me feel that I was never too junior or too inexperienced to contribute. This high level of mutual trust amongst my colleagues inspired me to always give my best.
When I was nearing ORD, I began to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was then that I realised how much I enjoyed the things I did in the RSAF. I never dreaded coming to work every day and it had been a fulfilling experience. Every day is filled with its challenges and excitements. And above all, there is a sense that we are working towards a noble purpose. I quickly decided that this was the career I wanted.
I have to admit that it was a leap of faith for me to turn my passion into my profession. But knowing how my relatively short time in the RSAF has changed me for the better and provided me with a unique opportunity to serve my country, I can see nothing else that I'd rather be doing. Although I have just begun my journey as a Regular serviceman, I look forward to gaining more experiences from this career. It has definitely instilled values in me that will not be forgotten. I hope to inspire others in the course of my journey, just as others have done for me.