Meet ME1T Ng Zhi Qian, an Air Imagery Intelligence Expert (AIRIX), from 129 Squadron who have recently graduated from the Specialists Cadet Graduation Parade. Here, he shares his inspirations, his experience, and his passion.
1. We understand that you have previously served your NS as an Army combat engineer. Can you tell us more about your experience then and what made you eventually decide to sign on with the Air Force instead?
At a young age, I was already an aircraft enthusiast and enjoyed learning about different aircraft. I remembered my passion for aircraft started when my father brought me to the NDP, where I saw the impressive flypast that left me in awe. This interest motivated me to find out more about the military. When I enlisted for National Service (NS), I served as a Combat Engineer Trainer that requires me to specialise in Mobility, Counter Mobility, and Survivability to ensure our own troops can achieve mission success. We learnt about building defences such as Concertina wires, building bridges for our troops to cross gaps, and mine-clearing tactics to increase our survival chances on the battlefield. I enjoyed my NS and decided that a military profession was what I wanted to pursue. As I was still very passionate about aviation, I decided to join the AIRIX vocation after looking through the RSAF recruitment website.
2. We learnt that your father is also an Air Force Engineer (AFE). Can you tell us about how your father has inspired you and how he has been a role model and inspired your passion for military and aircraft?
My father has been an Air Force Engineer with the RSAF for 37 years. When he joined the RSAF, he was working on aircraft escape systems. Some of the aircraft he worked on over the years include the S-211, T-33, and Strikemaster. Throughout the years, my father attended numerous courses to upgrade himself. He is now an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) trained instructor and is currently training new cadets in the RSAF. My father always shares his interesting stories in the RSAF with me, and how he overcame challenges is what impressed me the most. I would say his experience has definitely ignited my passion to serve. Now that I am also in the force, we would often share our working experiences with each other. I am glad that my mother was supportive of my decision to join the RSAF. Both my parents often encourage me to do my best and never give up.
3. Could you also share more about your training experiences (learning Air Imagery Intelligence)? What are some of the key highlights of your training in the RSAF?
Throughout my training, I have found intelligence work to be very interesting and challenging. During my course of work, I learned new perspectives, the need to pay closer attention to details and learn to work as a team to complete the tasks given. While some of the tasks given are very challenging, it is these challenges that have motivated me to continuously put in my best effort because I feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment whenever I completed each task. I always remember how my father taught me about giving my best whenever I am face with difficulties and to persevere on regardless of how tough the going gets. I am confident that with my passion and dedication, I will continue to do my father and my squadron proud as I take on the role of an AIRIX.
4. What is the greatest challenge that you have faced in your journey/course prior to your recent graduation? And how did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge I faced thus far is the steep learning curve in the AIRIX vocation. We have to learn the new software, understand numerous military platforms and undergo multiple tests within a short time span. On some days, our schedule would be very packed, and we would feel daunted that we may not be able to complete the tasks given on time. However, with everyone’s effort, great teamwork and mutual encouragement, we managed to complete the course together. As I mentioned earlier, with each task completed, it gives me a sense of pride and motivates me to get the next task done. Gradually as we got used to the pace of work, my teammates and I even manage to commit 5 minutes every day before lunch to work on our fitness by doing push-ups and crunches. This help me to stay focused. I have also committed to running every weekend, which in turn helps in the preparation for the upcoming Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) in April.
5. What do you look forward to achieving in the near future? You may wish to share more on your desire to contribute to the defence of Singapore, and opportunities to assist in humanitarian assistance missions.
I look forward to a long and fruitful career in the RSAF. I am really proud to be one of the many defenders protecting Singapore. I have seen in Pioneer magazines that SAF has participated in various peace support operations and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts. I wish I would be able to participate in such operations if the opportunity arises. I feel that participating in these operations will allow me to contribute more in the RSAF and broaden my horizon.
6. Any words of advice that you would like to give to your juniors who are also looking to join the RSAF?
One of the RSAF core values that really resonates with me is Team Excellence. No man is an island, and a strong team with the same goal, working together cohesively can achieve great things. It is important that working together as a strongly bonded team will ensure mission success for the RSAF. If you are an aircraft enthusiast like me, and has a critical mind for intelligence work, I strongly encourage you to join the AIRIX in the RSAF.