An Engineer and A Father

An Engineer and A Father

I am ME2 Alvin Tan, an Air Force Engineer (AFE) from Peace Carvin V (PC V) detachment. I specialise in fuel and environmental control systems for the F-15SG fighter aircraft. For this year’s Exercise Forging Sabre (XFS), I am involved in the daily rectification of the F-15SG to ensure that the aircraft is ready for its daily missions. 
I was deployed to Mountain Home, Idaho (US) in May 2018, and have been working closely with my colleagues from PC V, as well as our US Air Force counterparts ever since. Over the years, I have gotten the chance to be deployed for several high key exercises, such as Exercise Red Flag-Nellis, and have also participated in XFS three times. 
I recently extended my deployment to PC V as my wife and I just welcomed our son, Ares, who turned one month old last week. 
How has it been like having a new born son while deployed overseas? 
I enjoy the sense of belonging within the Buccaneers family, where everyone looks out for each other and works together as a cohesive unit. Ever since my son was born last month, we have been fortunate to have the support of the detachment. This has allowed me to focus on my daily task while ensuring work-life balance.

The Buccaneer family is not limited to the RSAF airmen and women who make up PC V – their families are included as well! Whenever someone from PC V welcomes a new born, their name gets added to the New Born Buccaneers board in the detachment building.

This is your third time participating in XFS. How different is this year?
While I have participated a few times in XFS, this is however the first time where we are participating in the exercise amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We overcame this with the necessary safe management measures in place. Besides, it is also my first time participating in an edition of the exercise that has greater participation from our counterparts from the Singapore Army. 
Another difference for me is that this is the first time that I am participating in XFS while it is being conducted in Mountain Home Air Force Base.  This is fortunate for me as it means that I can stay close to my family and care for them while still contributing to the exercise. 

ME2 Alvin conducting checks on the F-15SG at Mountain Home Air Force Base.

Have there been any challenges you’ve faced so far, and how have you overcome them?
Having a new born son has resulted in having less sleep at night, but my wife has been supporting me throughout this journey by ensuring that I can balance my life at work and at home. We have also been given a lot of useful advices on how to care for our newborn from our family and friends, and we regularly receive goodies from back in Singapore that definitely have helped encourage us.  

ME2 Alvin and his family relaxing in their Mountain Home Town apartment after the end of the work day.

Is there anything you’ve learned from participating in XFS?
I have learnt the importance of effective time-management, as I have to juggle between caring for my family and participating in the exercise. I have also learnt the importance of having a cohesive unit to achieve mission success, safety always for the RSAF. I am fortunate to be working with a very capable team, and we are able to effectively generate the F-15SGs for daily flying. 
As an AFE, I know the importance in the role that I play in contributing to a large-scale exercise such as XFS. In these past two weeks, I have also gotten a first-hand perspective of how participants from the various detachments and units must worked closely together and put in their best effort to make sure that the exercise is a success.