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ISSUE 03 2014

FLYING WITHOUT WINGS Red Lion recounts his NDP jump

TOP OF THE CLASS Meet the NSFs of the year

TO CHART A COURSE Navigating the Pacific

TADPOLES TO FROGMEN NDU trainees put the Team in Team Building Week





Fitness is an important element of soldiering. The SAF constantly reviews its training system, including physical training regimes and physical fitness tests, to ensure that they are relevant and effective. Starting from 1 Sep 2014, the SAF will launch a pilot implementation of a new and simpler Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) format, which will be accompanied by a new scoring system. This simpler test format will further motivate our servicemen to take greater ownership of their fitness.

The New IPPT Format PUSH - UP Upper body strength and endurance



PASS (NSmen)

>50 points


PASS (Active)

SIT - UP Abdominal strength and endurance

>60 points


>70 points


>80 points



≥85 points

New Scoring System Duration: 1 minute Max: 25 points

2.4km RUN Cardiovascular fitness


Lower body strength and endurance Max: 50 points

RADM Jackson Chia



SLTC Chew Chun-Liang

Deputy Editor

PASS (NSmen) Duration: 1 minute Max: 25 points


ISSUE 03 2014


he SAF will introduce a new scoring system to accompany the new IPPT format. Servicemen will be allocated points for their performance in each of the three stations. Based on a maximum of 100 points, the award type is determined by the total score from the 3 stations as opposed to a passing score for each station. However, servicemen must attain a minimum score at each station. This new scoring system will encourage servicemen to do their best for each of the stations. Active servicemen will continue to be held to a higher passing standard because fitness training is part of their work and training routine. The elite combat troops, Commando, Diver, and Guards vocationalists will continue to be held to a higher Gold standard.

Image courtesy of Pioneer

Clara Lock

Editorial Coordinator ME2 Jasper Ong CPL Leon Lam

Photojournalists CPL Leon Lam LCP Hans Lim REC S Mitra


Jessica Teo Sara Shamini LTC Paul Teo LTC Gary Ow MAJ Ong Willie CPT Adrian Teo ME5 Nagara ME3 Conrad Fung

20 The mission of the RSN is to enhance Singapore’s peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy, and should these fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressor at sea. The RSN will ensure Singapore’s seaward defence, secure our sea lines of communication, and maintain a high level of operational readiness and a broad spectrum of capabilities to support our national interest.

COVER PAGE Photo by LCP (NS) Graeme Ching

NAVY NEWS is a publication of the Republic of Singapore Navy. The views expressed by its writers do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Navy or the Ministry of Defence. NAVY NEWS is not to be reproduced in whole or in parts without the written consent of the RSN. For enquiries and comments, please call 6768 3367 or email us at navynews@ defence.gov.sg or Navy News, NIC, NOD (OA email).




ISSUE 03 2014 I am honoured to take over the helm of the Navy from a capable leader like RADM Ng Chee Peng. Over the past three years under his leadership, TEAM Navy has transformed into the third generation RSN. During his watch, he unified the efforts of the Navy into a singular focus, growing it from strength to strength. I would like to thank RADM Ng for his stewardship of the Navy, and I look forward to advancing the TEAM Navy that he has nurtured.


12 36

RADM Lai Chung Han 03

CNV Foreword




Onwards & Upwards • With our lives


12 Know your navy family • 1WO Tan Bok Leng goes from cub to lion 16

Now Hear This • Navigating the Pacific • One shot, one kill


Photo story • From tadpoles to frogmen


Onwards & Upwards • NSFs of the year • RSS FORMIDABLE is triumphant at sea


Dogwatch • 1WO Frankie Chong is a swinging success


Port Brief • 24 hours in Dubai


Free Gangway • Drop the beat with these headphones


Backpaddle • RSN veterans are as graceful as SWANS

Chief of Navy

In the past two months, I have witnessed the results of the great TEAM Navy. Pulling together in one direction, we organised the SAF Day Parade and participated in our nation’s 49th National Day Parade. In the midst of such massive efforts, we successfully conducted combined torpedo firings by our frigate, RSS STALWART, and an S70-B Seahawk naval helicopter – during the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise with the United States Navy. Further afield, RSS INTREPID has just returned from her three-month deployment, where she participated in Exercise Pelican with the Royal Brunei Navy and the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), which is the world’s largest international naval exercise. During RIMPAC, RSS INTREPID demonstrated our operational readiness by successfully firing an Aster missile and commanding a multinational task unit. The exercise enhanced our defence relations and expanded our policy space. RSS INTREPID also made port calls in Japan and China, taking part in a bilateral naval exercise with the People’s Liberation Army (Navy). Our landing ship tank RSS ENDEAVOUR is currently at sea for a Midshipman Sea Training Deployment, training our future officers. Not to forget our patrol vessels, base defence and various operational centres that are diligently ensuring the security of our waters and defending our everyday. As a maritime nation, the sea is our economic lifeline, and we protect our seas and defend our land. I salute our men and women on duty for their quiet sacrifices, loyalty and devotion to duty in protecting our seas. The RSN will continue to play its part in defending our national interest. I am proud to helm this ship, and I ask for you to rally behind in our battle call for TEAM Navy.





RSN Appreciation Dinner

Aide-de-Camp Appointment Ceremony Six honorary Aides-de-Camp (ADCs) from the RSN were appointed during the ceremony, which saw a total of 101 honorary ADCs appointed from the SAF, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Singapore Police Force. The honorary ADCs, who assist in the planning and execution of Presidential and State functions, received their appointment certificates from President Tony Tan Keng Yam during the ceremony on 21 May.

The RSN thanked its retired personnel with an RSN Appreciation Dinner held on 6 Jun. 27 retired RSN personnel attended the dinner with their family members.

SAF Central Welfare Fund Merit and Excellence Awards Ceremony The SAF Central Welfare Fund Merit & Excellence Award Ceremony (RSN) was held on 12 Jun at Changi Naval Base. 181 children of RSN personnel were awarded for excelling academically as well as in leadership, co-curricular achievements and community activities. Then-Chief of Navy RADM Ng Chee Peng presented the awards and interacted with guests and recipients.

Excellence in Public Service Awards The National Maritime Security System received the Best Practice Award (Inter-agency Collaboration) at this year’s Excellence in Public Service Awards Ceremony. The awards recognise agencies that have implemented innovative and effective public service practices. The ceremony was held on 23 May at Gardens by the Bay.

Naval Advanced Officers’ Course 23 naval officers graduated from the Naval Advanced Officers’ Course on 26 May in a ceremony held at the Naval Officers’ Advanced School. The course prepared the graduates to take up shipboard Assistant Operations Officer roles. CPT Chang Jing Ren, Eugene was the top student and CPT Cheh Guo Jin and CPT Marc Oliver Van Huizen were distinguished graduates.

MINDEF Experience Programme Around 90 tertiary students visited landing ship tank RSS ENDEAVOUR on 12 Jun to learn more about the RSN and its role in defending Singapore. They went on a ship tour, rode Fast Crafts Utility and spent the night on the ship.

6th Naval Warfare Specialisation Course Military Experts from the RSN graduated from the Naval Warfare Specialisation Course on 13 Jun at a ceremony held at the Naval Officers’ Advanced School. During the ten-week course, the 14 Military Experts were trained as cluster chiefs to better assist the Principal Warfare Officer in the Combat Information Centre. ME3 Foong Chan Hoong and ME2 Ong Kah Wei, Joseph topped the course.

Promotion Ceremonies Navy @ Vivo

Joint Leadership Course Graduation Ceremony 33 RSN personnel graduated from the 3rd Joint Leadership Course (JLC) on 28 May at a ceremony held at The Chevrons. The JLC develops 3rd Warrant Officers and Military Experts to be better fighters and leaders. Three RSN personnel, 3WO Hans Seah, ME2 Timothy Ng and ME2 Gilbert Goh were distinguished graduates.


Members of the public got up close and personal with the RSN when landing ship tank RSS PERSISTENCE docked at the VivoCity promenade from 29 May to 1 Jun. Visitors went on tours of the ship, took rides on Fast Crafts Utility, and learned about the RSN’s capabilities through an exhibition held in VivoCity.

391 RSN military personnel and Defence Executive Officers were promoted this year, during ceremonies held from 24 to 27 Jun. The promotees were recognised for their hard work and contributions to the RSN.

Operation Blue Sapphire (Maritime) Homecoming Ceremony cum Overseas Medal Presentation 193 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel received the SAF Overseas Service Medal (OSM) on 27 Jun upon their return from Operation Blue Sapphire (Maritime), or OBS(M). OBS(M) is Singapore’s contribution to multinational counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen presented medals at the ceremony, which was held at Changi Naval Base.




Naval Diving Unit Blood Donation Drive

Singapore Armed Forces Day Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel reaffirmed their pledge of dedication to the armed forces on SAF Day, which was commemorated with a parade at the SAFTI Military Institute on 1 Jul. Earlier in the day, more than 650 Operationally Ready National Servicemen gathered for the SAF Day combined rededication ceremonies, held at four locations around Singapore. Fleet led the RSN-wide effort to organise this year’s parade. Find out more on page 10.

The Naval Diving Unit (NDU) conducted a blood donation drive on 2 Jul. The event was co-organised by the National Education Team from the Underwater Demolition Group and the NDU Medical Section, in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross. The entire NDU formation, including Defence Executive Officers and NSmen on In-Camp Training, took part in the event, which was held at Sembawang Camp.

7th Senior Military Experts Appointment Ceremony 14 military experts (MEs) from the RSN, out of a total of 91 MEs from the Singapore Armed Forces, were appointed senior military experts at the 7th SAF Senior Military Experts Appointment Ceremony on 23 Jul. Second Minister for Defence Mr Chan Chun Sing officiated at the ceremony, which marked the completion of the Military Domain Experts Course (MDEC). The MDEC develops MEs’ leadership competency, military domain knowledge and specialised skills, preparing them to take on roles in areas such as engineering, intelligence and military medicine. ME3 Tan Tiong Hock received the Sword of Merit.

Combined MINDEF/ SAF Scholarship Award Ceremony Six RSN personnel, out of a total of 31 SAF personnel, received scholarships during an award ceremony held at the Istana on 29 Jul. 2LT Bryan Lim and 2LT Dylan Ban received the SAF Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS), 2LT Wong Kwang Ik, 2LT Joel Ng and 2LT Sng Shao Hao received the SAF Merit Scholarship (SMS) and MID Ling An received the SMS (Women).

Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association Inter-Formation Table Tennis Competition On 4 Jul, a table tennis team consisting of nine RSN personnel was crowned champion at the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association (SAFSA) Inter-Formation Table Tennis Competition. TEAM NAVY, led by ME4 Stealth Kho, overcame many skilled opponents from the SAF during the two-day competition to claim the challenge trophy.

Chief of Navy Change of Command Ceremony RADM Ng Chee Peng handed over command of the RSN to RADM Lai Chung Han on 1 Aug during a ceremony held at Changi Naval Base, which also featured a parade and a sail-past. Of his 26 years in service, RADM Ng spent the last three at the helm. Find out more on page 41.

Expertise Conversion Scheme Graduation Ceremony 14 Operationally-Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) were appointed Senior Military Experts under the new Expertise Conversion Scheme (ECS) on 18 Jul. The ECS allows NSmen to contribute to the SAF by volunteering in areas such as law, medicine and engineering. The 14 Senior Military Experts will hold appointments such as Chief Mate and Assistant Engineering Officer on board civil resource vessels.

Officer Cadet Course Commissioning Parade 47 naval officer cadets graduated from the 71st Midshipman batch at the SAFTI Military Institute on 20 Jul. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam reviewed the parade, which concluded 38 weeks of training at the Officer Cadet School. 2LT Lim Jun Yang received the Sword of Honour.


MTDC First Anniversary Celebration The Maritime Training and Doctrine Command (MTDC) commemorated its first anniversary at Changi Naval Base on 12 Jul. Team games and activities were organised for around 400 guests, including MTDC personnel and family members, to promote the MTDC identity and acknowledge the contributions of their crew. Family members of MTDC personnel also went on guided tours and dressed up in Navy uniforms for photo opportunities.

Basic Specialisation Course (I) Graduation Ceremony RSN trainees graduated from the Basic Specialisation Course (I) on 14 Aug at a ceremony held at Changi Naval Base. During the 28-week course, 99 trainees learnt vocational skills and core competencies such as firefighting and damage control, and seamanship. They also underwent onthe-job training in operational units.





Ex BERSAMA SHIELD RSS FORMIDABLE took part in Ex Bersama Shield, a Five Power Defence Arrangements exercise designed to enhance regional security and foster cooperation among its member countries - Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. During the exercise, which ran from 26 May to 3 Jun, RSS FORMIDABLE took part in a wide range of serials, from maritime security to three dimensional conventional warfare exercises.

Multinational Group Sail

The RSN took part in Exercise CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training), a joint exercise with the United States Navy (USN). The exercise sharpened conventional maritime warfare capabilities such as antiair, anti-surface and antisubmarine operations, as well as maritime air operations. This year’s exercise, which took place from 29 Jul to 8 Aug, also featured a combined torpedo firing by RSN and USN assets.

RSS INTREPID sailed from Guam to Pearl Harbour with a multinational task force to participate in the 24th biannual Rim of the Pacific Maritime Exercise (Ex RIMPAC). During the transit, which took place from 13 to 25 Jun, the ships practised surface firing, maneuvering, small boat and communication drills, small arms firing and replenishments at sea to prepare for the exercise. Photo courtesy of United States Navy

United Nations Maritime Working Group Workshop Four RSN personnel chaired the second United Nations (UN) Maritime Working Group Workshop at the UN Headquarters in New York on 16 and 17 Jul. During the workshop, Singapore and nine other member states contributed to the UN Military Unit’s Maritime Manual. The manual will be a standard reference for interoperability amongst member states involved in maritime peacekeeping operations.


Ex RIMPAC RSS INTREPID participated in the multilateral Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Maritime Exercise from 26 Jun to 1 Aug. The frigate was joined by assets from 23 other countries. RSS INTREPID commanded a task unit, comprising four other warships from Chile, Norway and the United States, to conduct maritime operations such as combined anti-submarine and air defence missions. RSS INTREPID also successfully carried out an Aster Surface-to-Air Missile live-firing on 12 Jul (Singapore time). Find out more on page 18.

Ex SEACAT Personnel from the RSN’s Maritime Security Task Force participated in the annual Southeast Asia Cooperation And Training (SEACAT), where they exercised together with the United States Navy and navies from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand from 11 to 15 Aug. During the exercise, the participating navies conducted planning exercises and drills, as well as the boarding of a merchant vessel simulated to be engaging in terrorist-related activities at sea. The exercise enhanced maritime information sharing and coordination of maritime security responses. An Accompanying Sea Security Team, patrol vessel RSS SOVEREIGNTY, patrol boats from the Singapore Police Coast Guard and a maritime patrol aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force took part in the exercise.



WITH OUR LIVES   Story by Leon Lam Photo by S Mitra




ingapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel reaffirmed their loyalty and dedication to the armed forces on SAF Day, which was commemorated with a parade held at the SAFTI Military Institute on 1 July. This year, Fleet led the RSN-wide effort to organise the parade. For CPL Eugene Goh, a member of the Naval Diving Unit’s Guard of Honour Contingent, being able to participate in the parade was a rare opportunity. He said: “We have all been rehearsing hard since May,

training our drills three times a week. It’s a unique experience for me to march in this parade and I’m happy to be participating with my batch boys.”

Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen presented the Best Unit and Best National Service Unit awards to 24 SAF units. RSS FORMIDABLE received the Best Ship Award.

During the parade, Chief of Defence Force LG Ng Chee Meng led SAF personnel in reciting the SAF pledge, and called for a minute of silence to honour our fallen comrades.

Earlier in the day, more than 650 NSmen and their employers from 324 companies gathered for the SAF Day combined rededication ceremonies, held at four locations around Singapore.

President Tony Tan presented the State Colours to this year’s Best Combat Unit, the 1st Commando Battalion, while Minister for

They recited the SAF pledge to reaffirm their commitment to the defence of Singapore.




The first time 1WO Tan jumped off a plane, he was so scared that he toppled off the edge of the ramp and fell headfirst into open skies. “My whole body was stiff as a plank, and my instructor had to chase me down to correct my posture,” said the 44-year-old, laughing. Almost a decade and over 300 jumps later, 1WO Tan has come a long way. Two years ago he made it to the elite Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team (SAFPT), better known as the Red Lions, jumping during the National Day Parade (NDP) for the first time. The Red Lions, made up of free fall instructors from the Commandos and the Naval Diving Unit (NDU), have represented the SAF in competitions and participated in the annual NDP since their first appearance in 1989. “I’ve taken part in other NDP displays like the motorised para-glide paraglider flypast in 2008. But as a Red Lion, I got to land just metres from the spectators,” said the senior diver from NDU.


The team of skydivers that jumped during the NDP is an elite one. Prospective Lions must be freefall instructors who have clocked over 200 jumps, and those who jumped during the parade underwent an even more stringent selection criteria.

Story by Leon Lam Pictures by S Mitra and courtesy of Venus Tan

1WO Tan Bok Leng was among eight Red Lions who put up a skydiving display at this year’s National Day Parade. He shares how he went from cub to lion.




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High stakes The small landing area made the NDP the most challenging jump 1WO Tan has ever done. The impact area, within which all eight skydivers landed, is the marina barrage floating platform. At 100m by 10m, it is about onefifth the size of impact areas 1WO Tan has previously landed in.

But the Lions were well prepared, and armed with safety measures to make sure the jumps went smoothly. Before each combined rehearsal at the floating platform, they would go down to the venue to familiarise themselves with potential hazards, such as floodlights and lightning arrestor wires along their flight path.

These include Paya Lebar Air Base for the 2011 Air Force Open House and the F1 track at the Singapore flyer for 2012’s Army Open House.

“On the actual day of the jump, the safety party would call us just before takeoff to brief us on the wind conditions and any lastminute changes on the ground,” 1WO Tan added.

From over 10,000 feet in the air, the impact area looked smaller than a mobile phone.

All worth it

Nailing the landing required precise calculations of the distance and direction he had to travel to the drop zone, and the skill to manoeuvre the parachute there. One mis-step could have landed him in the water, an outcome 1WO Tan wanted to avoid at all costs. “I was the only NDU representative jumping this year, and I didn’t want to be the first diver to end up in the water,” he said.

Train hard, fly easy Training, which began in May, took place every weekend. The team started rehearsing at Sembawang Air Base, before moving on to Khatib Camp and then the floating platform. Each time they shifted to a new training location, the size of the impact area decreased. The impact area in Sembawang Air Base was about 800 times the size of the floating platform.

1WO Tan may not be terrified of jumping out of a plane any longer, but the view from above still fills him with wonder. Recalling his first skydiving experience, he said: “After I recovered from the shock, the first thing I thought was ‘Wah, so beautiful!’” He added: “The ground was so far away and I felt so free. It’s really a different experience.” Even now, when the Super Puma helicopter takes off from Sembawang Air Base, 1WO Tan still scans the horizon for familiar landmarks. The avid recreational diver, who goes on regional dive trips three times a year, can spot dive sites in Tioman and Bintan, as well as Mount Ophir in Malaysia. “Singapore looks really small from the air,” 1WO Tan says. “Whenever I look down, I see this tiny island and know that’s where my loved ones and family members live. It makes me motivated to contribute to the nation in any way I can.”




People Power The navigation department comprises about five people, which includes the Navigation Officer (NO), Navigation System Cluster Chief, Navigation System Supervisor and two Navigation System Operators. Together, the team plots a course that will lead the ship safely to its destination. En route, the Navigation System Operators also aid the Officer-of-the-Watch (OOW) on the bridge, reporting on contacts that may pass too close to the ship, and navigation dangers such as rocks, wrecks or shallow waters. The team on RSS INTREPID stepped up preparations for Exercise RIMPAC since December last year, checking past years’ weather records to look for patterns of bad weather and familiarising themselves with the initial planned route.

Staying On Track

TO CHART A COURSE   Frigate RSS INTREPID sailed to Hawaii to participate in this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, a biannual multilateral exercise hosted by the United States Navy. Navigation Officer CPT Karl Su (pictured) tells Navy News how they got the ship there.

The Electronic Chart Display (ECDIS) is a computer based navigation system that displays essential information such as charts, wind speed and direction, the ship’s location, speed and its heading, and weather information in a single platform. This allows the NO to plot and track the ship’s course in real time, and adjust it as necessary.

Manage Mother Nature Tropical Revolving Storms (TRSs), more commonly known as typhoons, are a significant hazard, and must be tracked and avoided. To do so, the navigation department receives weather information from the ship’s sensors, weather fax and internet. The ship then adjusts her speed and diverts her course accordingly. On the way to Japan from Hawaii after completing the exercise, RSS INTREPID had

to adjust her passage from both Typhoon Genevieve and Hurricanes Iselle and Julio.

Juice in the tank When sailing for an extended deployment, the NO and the Senior Marine Engineer monitor fuel levels daily. Based on the amount of fuel left and the amount they expect to consume on certain planned speeds, the NO makes recommendations to the Commanding Officer on whether a course adjustment is viable. Any changes in course due to TRS, medical emergencies or ship defects can affect fuel usage, which must be monitored closely to ensure that the ship has sufficient fuel to reach its next port of call.

Foreign ports The NO is responsible for working with harbour pilots, who are familiar with the surrounding waters and dangers, when sailing into foreign ports. When the ship is nearing the port limits, she will raise communications with the Harbour Authority. She then embarks a harbour pilot, who will assist in navigating the ship into port. During RIMPAC, RSS INTREPID called at a number of ports including Zhanjiang in China and Yokohama in Japan.

Sailing in formation A photo exercise, where ships sail in formation for an aerial photo to be taken, is part of many naval exercises. But it also requires skill and precision to sail ships in such close proximity – the photo exercise during Exercise RIMPAC involved over 40 ships and submarines and took almost a day to complete. The navigation team played a significant role in assisting the OOW keep in station.

Story by S Mitra Photo by Leon Lam




ONE Story by Leon Lam Photo courtesy of RSS INTREPID




n Aster surface-to-air missile bursts from the launcher of frigate RSS INTREPID.

Aster missiles, which are capable of reaching speeds in excess of one kilometre per second, can intercept and destroy a wide range of air threats including high performance fighter jets and antiship missiles. Hitting the target, which was a fast-moving air drone, required precision and accuracy. RSS Intrepid conducted the successful firing as part of the multilateral Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime exercise, which was hosted by the United States Navy. Chief Weapons Control Systems ME2 Yap Chee Lih, who fired the missile, said: “All our hard work and preparation paid off when the missile hit the target. It was a once in a lifetime experience.” RSS INTREPID, with an embarked S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter, participated in this year’s exercise alongside assets from 21 other countries. This is the fourth time the RSN has participated in Exercise RIMPAC. 18



TADPOLES TO FROGMEN Story by Clara Lock Photos by Navy News and courtesy of Pioneer

The 40th batch of NDU trainees puts the Team in Team Building Week.



very batch of NDU divers owns a t-shirt that proclaims they have survived Team Building Week (TBW), a shirt they design as a batch and wear with pride long after repeated washings have rendered it worn and faded. It is a badge of glory, a sign they have fought their way through one of the toughest training regimes in the RSN and emerged triumphant. The 20-week Combat Diver Course that all divers undergo is punctuated by a five day programme known as TBW. For the trainees in the 40th batch, this may as well be a lifetime. During the week, trainees undergo a grueling round-the-clock programme that is meant to simulate wartime conditions of insufficient rest, and train the divers to overcome physical and mental fatigue. The training is designed to push them to their limits, and an uninterrupted stretch of two hours sleep is a luxury. “When your days become this unending stretch and you can’t see the end, you start making mental bargains with yourself,” says LTA Eden Kang. He adds: “I’ll make it to the next meal, you promise yourself, then I’ll go from there.” They lean on each other in order to bend and not break. MID S Satguru, by his own admission, joined NDU as a ‘non-swimmer’. He struggled to pass the swimming component of the Divers Fitness Test, a 500-metre swim that had to be completed in less than 12 minutes. “I can do it twice in that time,” says MID Guo Jing Yang. The latter’s friendly ribbing belies a fierce desire to see his batch mates succeed. MID Guo, who had previously worked part time as a lifeguard, coached the weaker swimmers on the correct techniques to help them pass their vetoes. Each diver had to pass five vetoes before they could graduate from the course. “It’s my accomplishment too when I see my batch mates succeed,” says MID Guo, who was named Best Trainee. The 40th batch is full of similar zero-to-hero stories. CPL Jeremy Yee enlisted a hefty 90kg that impeded his running, and whittled his weight down to 70kg – shaving almost four minutes off the timing on his 2.4km run to clinch the coveted Diver’s Gold standard on his IPPT. 3SG Nigel Tan enlisted after breaking his collarbone about a year before he enlisted, an injury that prevented him from doing physical training in the six months before he enlisted; MID Vincent Chua halved the timing of his 2km sea swim veto, going from a hundred to 47 minutes. In the end these accomplishments do not stay with them as long as the bonds forged over fire, and what it ultimately helps them achieve.

3SG Julian Siew leads his batch mates in a set of knuckle push ups. Throughout the course, trainees take turns leading the class to assist the smooth flow of training. Some of their duties are to muster strength, lead drills and keep morale up. 20

Training Officer 2WO Rajandran says: “In future, when they encounter tough situations, they will look back upon TBW as a reference and tell themselves, I can do it.” He adds: “They will be a changed person.” 21



3 Trainees learn capsize drills so they will know how to react when their boat is flooded. The quickest way to rid the boat of water is to flip it, which requires teamwork and coordination from all members.

4 “When one person sprains


their ankle and can’t run, the others will be his legs,” says CPL Wong Weng Yin. He contemplated giving up multiple times, but CPL Wong says that the inspiration and strength of his batch mates helped him to pull through.

5 During TBW, trainees are

regularly subjected to uncomfortable situations such as wet and sandy, where they are made to perform physical training in the sand. This is to help them get used to the conditions divers are subject to, said 2WO Rajandran.



2 1 Instructors pit the trainees against one another in friendly competition during the physical training, rewarding winning teams with more rest.

2 For many in the 40th batch, one of the toughest training drills involves running laps while holding a 76kg inflatable boat above their heads. They perform this drill, termed Chow Run because it typically precedes mealtimes, in groups of eight.


5 23


TBW, instructors periodically hose down trainees to cool down their body temperature. They also ensure that trainees stay hydrated with regular water parades, where they are supplemented with hydration salts.


6 During



7 During

cold treatments, trainees are submerged in boats filled with ice water, which is maintained at a controlled 12 to 15 degrees celsius, for two minutes at a time. The frigid temperature helps with muscle recovery from the strenuous physical training they undergo, and is one of the more gruelling mental challenges they must overcome. It also simulates conditions the divers operate in.

8 MID Guo Jing Yang, who was named best trainee, receives a trident during the underwater graduation parade.

9 The

40th batch stands in formation during their underwater graduation parade, a culmination of the 20-week combat diving course. Upon graduation, they become operational divers and are posted to units such as the underwater demolition group (UDG).



9 25



Fitness First Those looking to get – or stay – in shape usually hit the gym to exercise, but CFC (NS) Kee Wei Keong found that joining the navy was the best workout of all.

ONCE IN OUR LIFE, TWO YEARS OF OUR TIME Story and photos by S Mitra From washboard abs to life lessons, three recipients of this year’s NSF of the Year Award, who have since become Operationally Ready NSmen, share how their National Service journeys have shaped them.

CFC (NS) Kee, who was part of the Clearance Diving Group (CDG) in the Naval Diving Unit (NDU), credits the training he underwent during his two years of National Service (NS) to getting his body ship shape. “I was worried about not having time to go to the gym while in NS, but my time in NDU has made me fitter than ever,” said CFC (NS) Kee. While with CDG, he did six to eight kilometre runs daily and was put through rigorous dive trainings.

Your workout is my warm-up.

But his time in NDU meant more than just muscle growth – CFC (NS) Kee also learnt about perseverance, through the demanding Combat Diver Course that every NDU trainee undergoes. His unit Second In Charge (2IC), CPT Kelvin Zhang, said: “CFC (NS) Kee’s passion and attitude towards his duties, as well as his significant contribution to CDG, made him an easy choice for nomination for the FullTime National Serviceman (NSF) of the Year Award. He demonstrated every quality that an NSF should possess while serving the nation.” After completing his national service in July, the 23-year-old works as a swimming instructor and personal trainer, while modelling on the side. He will be playing an instructor in the upcoming Jack Neo film about Naval Divers, Ah Boys To Frogmen, which is currently in production. The movie is slated for release early next year. CFC (NS) Kee still draws from the mental strength of his NDU days to push through difficult workouts. He said: “When I’m tired, what makes me push on is the thought of how good I’ll look after this. After all, your workout is my warmup.”




Care for soldiers is one of the core values of the Singapore Armed Forces, and my commanders showed me what this really means.


Mentors in their Midst

Leading with Pride

When CFC (NS) Tan Yin Han’s then-Executive Officer (XO) MAJ Neville Nah asked for volunteers to edit a video, CFC (NS) Tan jumped at the chance, having previously picked up basic video editing skills from his school days.

3SG (NS) Teo Wen Jie turned 23 this year, but the training specialist at Tuas Defence Squadron had to take the lead of Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) older and more experienced than he is.

The task was to edit the 2013 Fleet workplan video, which meant that CFC (NS) Tan had to sift through a large amount of footage, and then edit it into a video to show the Fleet’s accomplishments in the past work year. This was in addition to his duties as an Electrical Control Systems Technician at the Fast Craft and Training Unit (FCTU). CFC (NS) Tan conducted systems maintenance of RSN assets to keep them in good condition. While CFC (NS) Tan was working on the Fleet workplan video, MAJ Nah provided guidance every step of the way. He gave CFC (NS) Tan advice on which RSN events to showcase and suggestions on text headings that would intersperse the video. Once, when the deadline was approaching, MAJ Nah accompanied him as he worked on the video till 4am at home while providing tips and advice. The Fleet workplan video earned CFC (NS) Tan praise and recognition from his superiors, and he was later entrusted with producing pre-departure videos for Exercise Trident that were screened for NSmen doing their in-camp training. He also produced ship safety videos for public exhibition Navy@ Vivo. MAJ Nah is proud of how CFC (NS) Tan managed to balance both his primary and secondary duties throughout his NS days. He said: “In their two years serving the nation, it is my hope that NSFs leave the system more developed and well-rounded, with greater maturity of thought and discipline, and CFC (NS) Tan is a good example of this.”

3SG (NS) Teo conducted refresher lessons for NSmen who return for their in-camp training (ICT), making sure they were up to date in the technical handling of weapons such as the small arms rifle Armalite15 and the General-Purpose Machine Gun.

I am proud of my job as a training specialist because without these refresher courses that we conduct, knowledge that the NSmen have would slowly fade away.

Keeping NSmen up to date is crucial because once activated, they will play a vital role in the Navy’s ability to protect Singapore, said 3SG (NS) Teo. In order to guide more experienced NSmen, 3SG (NS) Teo made sure he mastered what he has to teach, and clarified matters he was unsure of. “The working relationship was one of mutual respect, where I guided, rather than commanded the NSmen,” said 3SG (NS) Teo, who graduated from Republic Polytechnic with a diploma in Business Information Systems. He added: “I am proud of my job as a training specialist because without these refresher courses that we conduct, knowledge that the NSmen have would slowly fade away.”

The Full-time National Serviceman (NSF) of the year award is presented to NSFs who have displayed commitment to National Service (NS), exceptional performance in their duties and performed duties beyond what was expected. Recipients are nominated by a superior from their unit. A total of eight NSFs received the award this year.






TRIUMPHANT AT SEA Story and photo by Leon Lam

RSS FORMIDABLE took top honours as RSN’s best ship this year. The crew shares how this close knit family emerged triumphant.


SS FORMIDABLE received the Best Ship Award at this year’s Singapore Armed Forces Best Unit Competition, an annual competition that recognises outstanding units in combat readiness, operational proficiency and administrative excellence. Achieving this took a policy of open communication, said then-Commanding Officer SLTC Ong Chee Wei. “The junior sailors, ME1s and NSFs, can always come and talk to the officers, even to me. Just knock on my door and come in for a chat… there is very little hierarchy, so everyone can have a voice,” added SLTC Ong. This allowed the crew to foster strong bonds of unity and cooperation. Operations Officer CPT Tung Wanling said: “Every member of the crew is responsive to any situation on board the ship, working together quickly and professionally with a common purpose.” CPT Tung, who directs the operations of the ship from the Combat Information Centre (CIC), added: “We in the CIC are RSS FORMIDABLE’s brain, but just as humans need our eyes and ears to perceive our surroundings and our limbs to let us take action, the ship depends on the entire crew working as a seamless unit to achieve mission success.” Everyone on board ship feels this solidarity, said LCP Jeremy Chang, a Navigation Systems Specialist on board the frigate. LCP Chang said: “The crew is like a second family to me. I’m really thankful to have been posted here as I was able to learn from the best, and be the best!”












Story and photos by Graeme Ching  

1WO Frankie Chong demonstrates the steps of a good swing. Golf, says 1WO Chong, is a full body workout and requires overall fitness in order to play well.

Avid golfer 1WO Frankie Chong offers you these tips to work the right muscles and sweeten your game.


Stay the course

At the core 

Upper body strength 

A full game of golf takes about four to five hours, and if you don’t have a buggy, you’ll be walking for most of the six km course. Shore up your stamina for the game with cardiovascular training such as running or cycling. This will not only increase your stamina but also your mental focus to make your game more enjoyable.  

The core muscles play an integral role in the golf swing by strengthening the swing of legs and upper body.  Therefore, a strong core leads to a more consistent swing. Core strength can be trained through functional exercises such as the medicine ball rotation, or through the direct abdominal exercises with sit-ups or crunches.  

Large muscle groups in the chest, back and shoulders are key to long and steady ball flight. Build up a strong chest with inclined pushups, which are performed with your legs propped up on an elevated surface. Inclined push-ups also train the shoulders to resist rotator cuff injuries. For a stronger back, try some inclined pull-ups or standard pull ups, which are all functional exercises that integrate your entire body. 33










Did You Know? 1WO Frankie Chong is Operations Warrant Officer of the Naval Diving Unit. He is a member of the Sembawang Golf Club and played in the National Inter-Club League games as part of their premier division (for players with a handicap of 0-7).


The set up position Frankie’s ball placement is forward of his stance, which allows him to launch the ball higher to compensate for the driver’s low loft. High handicappers tend to make the mistake of trying to launch the ball by hitting “up” on it, which ruins a good swing. Just set-up right and swing the club and the ball should fly on its own. 



The take-away A good take-away is one where the golfer brings the club away with both arms extended to allow for maximum rotation. The take-away is the initial swing process to build that potential energy in the club. For highhandicappers, remember to keep your head still and rotate about it: it’ll give you better contact with the ball. 


The top of the back-swing At this point in the swing, Frankie’s weight is almost all on his right, ready to move over in the downswing. He keeps his left arm straight with the club pointing at the target. 


The downswing The initiation of the downswing is all done by the hips. However, a common mistake made is that the hips tend to travel too much laterally when trying to create momentum. For highhandicappers, focus on rotating about your left leg, and let the rest of the swing unwind itself around you.  


The impact point All that potential energy built up is now released at the bottom of the swing as kinetic energy. A good impact follows when your arms are straight and your shoulders, hips and legs are all stacked together on your left side with the weight behind the ball. Remember to see the point of impact and keep turning your hips to ensure a good follow through.  


The post-impact extension 1WO Chong follows through with his shoulders, arms, hips and legs to complete the swing and drive the ball home to its intended target. If you have done all the previous steps, this should feel like a natural extension of movement.


Post-up Having fully rotated, the club winds round his back, and he stands up tall facing the target. 35




Shop till you drop

Bigger is better

Drop by the Textile Souk and Meena Bazaar during your time in Bur Dubai to immerse yourself in old world charm. If time is on your side, cross the Dubai creek on one of the many water taxis to the Deira district, which houses both gold and spice souks.

Juxtaposed against the many souks in the city are monumental malls that showcase Dubai’s western influence, such as the enormous Dubai Mall beneath the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai Mall houses a massive aquarium, skating rink and outdoor fountain/light show. Shoppers can also tuck into an array of cuisines, including the famous American chain The Cheesecake Factory, known for the size and variety of its confectionery cakes.

Story by Graeme Ching

The glittering jewel in the crown of the United Arab Emirates is a common transit destination for international long haul flights. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Dubai.

Cure the munchies The Lime Tree Café and Kitchen along Jumeirah Beach Road specialises in organic fare, which it has been selling since 2001. Tuck into a variety of quiches, kebabs, chutneys and pastries to fuel up for the day. The café also houses a small store where you can get snacks, such as biscuits, to go.

Culture vulture

Photo courtesy of McKay Savage from Wikipedia Commons 36

Take a stroll through the old Bastakiya District of Dubai for a glimpse into Dubai’s rich history. This neighbourhood, which is located in the Bur Dubai area, is one of the oldest residential estates in the city. Visit historical sites such as the Al Bastakiya Moqsue and the famous Dubai Creek, or check out the architecture of traditional houses. These houses are structured to encourage ventilation during the summer, where temperatures can soar into the mid-forties. Set aside your morning to get the most out of this elegant part of town.

Photo courtesy of Alberto-g-rovi from Wikipedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Rob Young from Wikipedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Poco a poco from Wikipedia Commons

Christmas In the Desert

The sands of time

If the heat is getting to you, cool off on ski slopes located within the Mall of Emirates, which is located at the tail end of Jumeirah Road. Ski Dubai houses 22,500 square metres of snow, which blanket five different ski runs year-round. Slopes range from 60m to 400m in length and cater to everyone, from beginners to experts.

For a day trip out of the city, take a desert tour out of Dubai, which comprises a camel ride through the desert, followed by a chance to drive an off-road vehicle across sand dunes. Tour operators may also include a belly dance performance and a barbecue dinner under the stars.





Beats and bass

Story by Hans Lim

There’s a pair of earphones for every occasion, so plug them in and drown out the world.

Photo courtesy of stereo.com.sg

Athletes and runners will delight in the Yurbuds, which are sport earphones custom-fitted to stay snug in your ears. Just twist, turn and lock and they’ll stay put through all your highintensity workouts. Besides being ultra-soft and comfortable, Yurbuds are also sweat resistant, which means you can go all out without worrying about potential damage.

Break the monotony of doing laps with the waterproof mp3 player Neptune by Finis. Its bone conduction audio transmission system transmits sound through the cheekbone directly into the inner ear. The three-piece design has two side speakers and a high contrast OLED screen that sits comfortably on the back of the head, so you won’t have to worry about affecting your swimming technique.

Photo courtesy of www.finisinc.com

Affordable premium performance The Panasonic RP-TCM125 Ergo Fit is an inexpensive pair of inears that offer excellent bang for your buck. Despite costing less than $15, these earphones provide a good fit and decent sound, and also allows users to take calls with its built in microphone and remote.

Photo courtesy of panasonic.com


Under the sea

Show them off This one’s for the audiophiles – the Shure SE846 Quad Driver Earphones cost a cool $1250, and feature a low-pass filter that will act like a subwoofer. This means that it is selfamplified, and fills in the deep, rich bass that is missing from most main speakers. Users can also toggle among three sound signatures to enjoy a warm, balanced or bright sound depending on the type of music.

Photo courtesy of stereo.com.sg

Twist, turn and lock

If you like your beats fast and your bass down low, look to the urBeats for crystal clear highs and deep, rumbling lows in high definition. The precision-machined singlebillet metal housing also prevents vibrations and unwelcome sound from tainting your listening experience.

Photo courtesy of stereo.com.sg

Live-in earphones If you’re perennially attached to your headphones, go for the Bose QuietComfort 20i, which is designed to provide maximum comfort. The mushroom shape of Bose’s Stayhear+ tips spread evenly across the ear and forms a gentle seal that contributes to the headphones’ full-spectrum noise reduction with a soft, secure fit. Block out the outside world with full-on noise reduction or choose the aware mode to let some of it in – all while keeping your headphones on and your music alive.

Photo courtesy of stereo.com.sg



GRACEFUL AS A SWAN Story and photos by Lai Jun Wei

The very first batch of female servicemen were the Singapore Women’s Auxiliary Naval Service (SWANS), who were part of the Singapore division of the Malayan Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the 1950s and the 60s. They share their best memories of their time in the navy.

“I applied for interviews to be part of the SWANs in 1967, after one of my friends recommended that I try for it. Training back then was held at Pulau Blakang Mati (now known as Sentosa), where I marched in parades and picked up basic shooting skills. It was very strict back then and we learnt to be obedient soldiers. But overall I still enjoyed my service and the company of my colleagues and fellow SWANS.” - Ms Magdelene Tan

“I joined the SWANS in 1963, going through the same set of drills – rifle, ship knowledge – as my peers. My most memorable experience was participating in the National Day Parade march past. All of us SWANS were really tense and nervous during the parade, but we felt so privileged to be there.” - Mdm Iris Ng Sow Mui


Story by S Mitra


wish you all fair winds and following seas. Chung Han, you have the ship. Thank you.”

With these words, former Chief of Navy RADM Ng Chee Peng handed over command to RADM Lai Chung Han on 1 Aug. RADM Ng enlisted in 1988, and served the Navy in various capacities during his 26 years of service. These include appointments such as Fleet Commander, Chief of Staff - Naval Staff and Chief of Staff - Joint Staff. During his three years at the helm, he started the initiative known as T.E.A.M. Navy, an acronym for the four key thrusts he envisioned for the RSN. These were Transforming the Navy into the 3rd Generation RSN, Engaging our people, Advancing integration with the SAF and the larger national security system, and Meeting mission success as defenders of the sea. RADM Lai said, “Chee Peng, thank you for all that you have done for the RSN. You’ve given much to the Navy, and the Navy is grateful for your service.”

“I served as a Radar Plotter Volunteer when I joined the SWANS in 1963, and learnt a lot from the sailing classes, radar plotting lessons and dinghy sailings. I was later mobilised into the Army during the Konfrontasi and stayed on to set up the SAFTI Library. We are all proud to be in the SWANS because we are more than just a regular citizen. When called upon, we can also defend our country as a soldier.” - Mdm Mary Choo


Fair winds and following seas, Sir!

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Navy news issue 2 2014 lowres (2)