Finally, MR loh!
In 2005, I was enlisted into National Service (NS), a mandatory conscription and duty that every male citizen and PR must undertake upon attaining the age of 18, and served as a full-time National Serviceman (NSF) for 1 years 10 months, instead of 2 years due to my good fitness. During the active service, I had completed Basic Military Training (BMT) including a 24km march for about 3 months and then selected for Officer Cadet Course (OCC) for another 9 months, including Signal Officer Cadet Course that ended with a 72km march. After being commissioned as a Signal Officer, I was posted to 1 Singapore Infantry Regiment (SIR) as a Battalion Signal Officer whose role is to provide communications support for the whole Battalion and had the opportunity to serve and work with a platoon of over 20 signallers. Apart from local training and exercises, I had the chance to travel to Brunei (part of OCC) and Taiwan for Battalion and Bridage level exercises in 1 SIR. Those training pushed my mental and physical limits, and there were several occasions where I was exhausted and almost burnout. I had to think of my family, my fellow servicemen and the purpose of serving NS in order to complete the exercises.
After my full-time NS, I became an Operationally Ready National Serviceman (NSman) and posted to 755 SIR with my fellow 1 SIR's servicemen. From 2008 onwards, almost every year we had been called up for in-camp training (ICT) over 1 or 2 weeks to refresh our combat skills and fulfill various types of tasks/missions in different years such as going for military skills' asssessment by Army Training Evaluation Centre (ATEC), serving an Alert Red unit whose task is to be the first responder to national emergency and supporting Army Open House. We also had servicemen from other units posted to ours so that our manpower could be in Readiness Condition (REDCON) 1, esp. for the years when we needed to be evaluated. The toughest moment for many of us was the ATEC Stage 2 exercise where we had to walk for over 10km on uneven terrain during graveyard time and carry heavy loads e.g. signal sets. We were called up for a few separate days to go for route marches to condition our bodies for the preparation of that ATEC Stage 2. We had to go through many highly intense battle order and map planning meetings to develop our strategies and operations to win the aggressors.
We were honoured to be the Best NS Infantry/Guards Unit for several years!
This year, 2020, our 755 SIR has completed our Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) journey since 2008, which consisted of 7 high key ICTs and we will be posted to Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) Reserve (MR) with effect from 1 April 2020. From then onwards, we are no longer required to notify MINDEF for our overseas trips, except for those trips that are 6 months or longer. There will be no more ICT or Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) for us, unless MINDEF wants to call us back, as the statutory age limit is up to either 40 for Warrant Officer, Specialist and Enlistee (WOSE) or 50 for Officers.
This NS journey from 2005 to 2020 triggered a multitude of emotions within us and brought bittersweet memories for us. Each serviceman has unique thought patterns and concerns. Despite of our differences and challenges faced, I'm thankful for journeying with my fellow NSmen & completing this tour on a positive ending. We have also grown up together. Hope we have served well and done our best. Wishing all speed through skills in our own pursuits!
Thank you, Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for the medals & watch, as well as this extraordinary experience!