National Service Journey: 070612 (BMT) to 060614 (ORD)
Today is the day that I become an “operationally-ready soldier” and it has been a long two years of hardship, friendship and struggle. But it has come to an end and a new beginning awaits, what I consider a breath of fresh air from the transition to civilian life. I must say that I have learnt a lot through the skills that I have attained in the military.
Having good organisation skills, being punctual and having a sense of responsibility were some of the key takeaways that I learned from this two-year journey. Being posted to Tekong (Hawk Company- Who Dares Win!) and being with the people that I did not know was a tough adjustment from the sheltered life at home. I had to make friends and they turned out to be the ones who pushed me on and we supported each other through the trainings of keeping fit, waking up early, the daily water parade, field training and marching. We are all leaders in our own way despite the rank system and these skills are applicable to our lives, studies and career.
After the basic military training at Tekong, I was posted as a Security Trooper (regimental police- Steadfast We Stand) to 8 SIR, 2PDF, Clementi Camp. The training was not so tough and I still made a lot of friends, and I think the unity in the section kept us going. The camaraderie as soldiers made us look out for one another and united us all despite our different backgrounds. A Security Trooper defends camps and bases from external threats which endanger the security of these protected areas with sensitive information. But they posted me to the Alpha Quick Response Force which has been renamed recently to Alpha Sector Response Force to deal with the different sectors island-wide. I was the general purpose machine gun (GPMG) gunner which was physically demanding as there is a need to hold a primary weapon which is the SAR-21 as well.
After that I was posted as a Infantry Trooper for the last few months of my military journey and I enjoyed the different weapons that I got to fire such as the SAR-21, M16, M203, GPMG and the grenade throwing. These trainings have made me endure hardship of carrying the weapons and also safeguarding them to ensure that they do not go unattended. Also we need to be independent and that ensured that we can survive through any conditions in a real war.
National Service has been a milestone of becoming more resilient in mindset and fitness for me. However, it is a time to enjoy the benefits of serving the nation by not caring anymore about reporting to camp at a given time and the regimentation that is expected from us. Here’s to more weekends, family time , personal time and also space for me to pursue my interests. I am thankful to God and my family for being there for me through the ups and downs of serving the nation and encouraging me to not give up. Through the memories of national service, it will shape me for the future and to know my priorities in life.
Also I went to purchase some things at the Lifestyle E-Mart which is open to the public at Mount Faber SAFRA and the kind aunty who knew that I was in the national service offered me personalised attention in ensuring that I chose the correct things that I had in mind. I am thankful for her help and advice in telling me not to care about what other people say that caused me to lose hope in my interests and dreams but to carry on for my own self and happiness. Luckily it was a weekday and not a weekend which would have been more crowded. I guess being at the right place with the right people can make a positive difference in someone’s life.
This is only the beginning of serving the country and till re-service, the journey as a soldier takes the backseat. I am excited for the future to pursue my interest and to bring change to the world, one small aspect at a time.
I would like to end this post with a unofficial army song that was given to me by my previous senior batch which fittingly sums up these two years:
“We Are One”
We Work in Harmony, With our Fellow Men, We are the People of this land, We have to move ahead, To do the best we can, We are the ones to defend our Land.
Chorus: We are one, Marching On, We are the Strong Defenders of this country, Moving On- We believe that we can achieve, So let us serve our home- Singapore
We Live in Unity, Working hand in hand, Within this land that we defend, We have to leave the past, To strive for higher paths, We have to train to achieve our aim.
We push ourselves ahead-to our destiny, To make this country strong and free, As we go marching on- we sing this melody, so let us strive on to victory.
Cheers to new beginnings as a Civilian with my new found pink identification card and God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong