Journey from a Boy to a retired NS man – Part II

‘The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”
– Ulysses S. Grant

Through adversity where friendship  are forged
Through adversity where friendship is forged

3rd Battalion Singapore Guards – Where True Friends are Made

After Guard Conversion Course, together with a few others, we were sent to two months Platoon Sergeant Course, which also marks the end of my course during the 2.5 years National Service tenure. I rejoined 3rd Guards as the Section Commander for Bravo Company Platoon 6 Section 3, where I become the leader of 6 men under my charge.

The best sectio, in the best platoon of the best company in a RECON 1 battalion. Not joking.
The best section, in the best platoon of the best company in a RECON 1 battalion. Not joking.

I had the fortune (or misfortune) of inheriting this section of extremely tough soldiers whom we fought side by side for the rest of our NS cycle.

ANG TEOW BENG – My 2nd IC  and the natural leader in the whole group. Charismatic  and probably one of the fittest in those days. Unfortunately, he suffered some back injury during our NS time.  Now boss of his own interior designing company.

ROHAIZAT – My group 2  IC and the silent worker in the whole section. Speaks very little but do a lot. The model soldier, whenever asked to do something, never question, just do. He sticks around until we “MR-ed” together this year. Glad to say that he is happily married with 3 lovely boys.

TAY WK – My 1st M203 gunner and the front scout. The brain of the section. Smart and alert, also takes good care of his weaker team-mates. Always very assured when he and SEOW HH is scouting ahead of the section. Unfortunately, he was injured due our NS time and subsequently downgraded and transferred out during reservist. Now (also!) boss of his own interior designing company.

SEOW HH – My 1st SAW gunner and with TAY WK, forms the front scout team of the section. The most reliable person around, typical Singapore boy, but discipline and tough. He served with distinction during our NS time and joined us for one or two reservist. He went to England to further his study and passed away after a tragic car accident there. He has been sorely missed by all of us.

LIM HB – ANG TB always call him the little man due to his slight built (2nd LAW Gunner). While he is small in size, he is definitely big in heart and commitment. Although physically the weakness in the whole section, he seldom gives up even in the toughest situation. To top it off, he and Rohaizat were the last person standing when our battalion MR-ed 16 years on! He is now happily married with two kids of his own.

NG YL – EMO guy of the section (2nd Saw).  He never liked the army and the strict regime but committed to fight alongside his section mates. Nonetheless, finish his 2.5yrs with us and we have not seen him since then.

It has interesting that how we are of diverse background, language, habits and culture came together, bonded as a unit and performed above our capabilities by compensating for each other with our respective strengths.

Life at 3rd battalion Singapore Guards was tough, we were specially selected and trained to achieve good result. And we didn’t  fail. The unit went on to obtain RECON 1 status in ATEC (Army Evaluation Centre) and our men got to march at the national day parade. of 1999. In between, we moved from the old mice infested camp at Kranji to the spankling new camp in Bedok. Boy, I was so glad to be out the that Kranji camp.

Remember one of the weekend where I was on duty,  I went out the throw some rubbish at the rubbish point below each block. The rubbish point was literally a playground for mice, jumping around the dustbin, savaging for food – it was really quite a sight.

Guard duty at Kranji camp was fun, when you get bored, you can keep yourself occupied by counting the no. of lizards on the wall. Even better was that you can actually see them in action, eating the flies and mosquitoes flying around.

During one of the standby  in Bedok Camp
During one of the standby in Bedok Camp

Bedok was a brand new building with lift inside and that is where I completed 2.5 yrs of my NS liability. And by then, we were a group of one of the toughest people around, both physically and mentally. But also because of that, the adjustment from a NSF to a civilian was not easy, we almost need to readjust as all of us when back to our normal life. Almost all the sergeants went on to continue our studies in the university.

2000 - joestanding1

Kilat Sergeants before we ORD
Kilat Sergeants before we ORD

661 Guards – Old boys fighting the battle

After we ORD in 2000, I thought that I may not have chance to see my army buddies , little did I know that the whole unit will meet up again during our reservist in 661 Guards spanning almost 14 years and numerous of in-camp training. People always have the misconception that reservist are easy, people just go in and laze around , play games. I can tell you that it might have happened to some people but definitely not people in 661 guards.

2006 Reservist
2006 Reservist

Because we did so well during our active time, the same high expectation was upon us during reservist. We were trained harder than others, because we are supposed to be tougher than others too. So the entire 14 years of reservist, we went through pretty much what we have gone through for 2.5 years NS life. Only difference is that the body of a 30+ years old vs body of a 18 years old differs a lot!

2007 Reservist
2007 Reservist

Nonetheless, I was grateful that my buddies are with me through this tough 14 years of reservist where they entertained me with their childish and stupid jokes (army has that effect on people), they listen to my problem …. then laugh about it, they shared my happiness. In short, they are an important part of my life that I cherish a lot.

2008 Reservist Orion, Australia. Cold and outfield for 7 days!
2008 Reservist Orion, Australia. Cold and outfield for 7 days!

To me, Army is a process that I have no choice but to go through, but the lesson and the training from the army benefited me greatly, to top it off, the great friends I made is the real parting gift Army has given me.

So many great stories happen along this 16 years journey, if I ever going to pen it down, this post will never end. Instead, the stories will be brought up everytime I meet up with my buddies where we talk about it again and again, laugh about it again and again , and never really get sick of it. Repeat 10,000 times

2009 Reservist - The MG Gunner in me
2009 Reservist – The MG Gunner in me
2010 Reservist - Fashion police alert
2010 Reservist – Fashion police alert
2011 Reservist - Gas attack training
2011 Reservist – Gas attack training
2013 Reservist - MR loh
2013 Reservist – MR loh

My MR watch - Swiss Army
My MR watch – Swiss Army (Update: I think I lost it)