Sunday, June 27, 2010

i commissioned last week and sadly the euphoria of commissioning has left me.

But the story of my OCS journey will etched in my mind forever. I was reading some of my old blogpost and the last time i blogged about army was during bmt. So some backtracking...BMT was one of the best days of my army life so far. I completed it and passed out as Jaguar Platoon 4 best. Well, i guess by now you should have known that I made it to OCS.

There are 256 steps in the SAFTI Tower. The significance of these stairs is that it takes 256 days to commission as an officer. After a long arduous journey, i've reached the top of the tower but i've not forgotten the very first step into the journey.

on 23rd Sept 2009 (wow thats so long ago), i entered SAFTI MI, Golf Wing. Weekend confinements was so common. I remembered that the 2 week confinement in BMT was quite sad, but this time in OCS, it started with 3 weeks. Basically the morale remained at an all time low during that period. but nevertheless weekend confinements was a very common thing throughout this 15 weeks of service term. What made it worst were the VERY late bookouts on Saturdays, resulting in a less than 24 hr bookout.
These made me very immune to not booking out. Training was tough and outfields were as tough. I remember the 10 days of section field camp. It was the shaggest period of my life. Amidst all these exercises, there were many moments which i will remember, the funny ones, the ones where we got tekan, the plan that didn't go as expected and also the things that tied us together to get through those "shit". After going through service term, i can finally relate to the war movies/series ands how shitty it is to be out in the field and it made me appreciate home more. Everyweek, my friends told me that i've lost weight and it made me feel quite sian. Service term, came and went, with a blink of an eye, i was up elephant hill after a tiring 24km night route march to get our pro term bar. I was the Cadet Platoon Sergent then and i remembered tanking all the roles and shit because my CPC was always busy with god knows what. Suspense of our postings were also in the air and i hoped and prayed that i wouldn't end up in infantry. i rmb the time i got pranked that i got posted to infantry and i was on the verge of tears. Engineers was my first choice because i wanted to try EOD or CBRE but on the morning of our last day of service term, i found out i was being posted to Signals. It was quite a sian moment.

Next came Christmas and New year and before you know it, 2nd of Jan 2010 i was on the flight to Brunei. Here i embarked on Support Officer Cadet Jungle Orientation Training. I remembered that the weather there was extrememly hot and on the other hand it rained like crazy. The black flag infront of our bunks always flew high and proud. In this unkown land, i experienced combat swimming and a x1000000 scale of compass course to familiarize us with the terrain. It was quite screwed and the hills were extremely steep, making bashing seriously slow and tedious. Finally the day came where we had to embark on our mountain rat, a 4d3n ex where we had to find several check points and climb mt biang. I rmb the streams where we had to walk through and also the refreshing water which i filled my green water bottle with and i didn't know that simplet hings like washing my face with the cool stream water could boost my morale for quite abit. It was only here that i appreciated the training Golf Wing gave me. rationing food and water was easy and also walking around with extra 1.5l waterbottles wasn't really tiring as compared to the teamates from different wings. Golf trained us with heavy route march weight that climbing up and down or overcoming obstacles with extra water didn't feel much. Organisms here were like ampliified. Super big ants, super thorns etc etc were common everywhere. I remember the nights in Brunei where the flies kept flying into your face, the wonderful night skies floating above us, the sharing around the campfire and of course the nights where we ran into our fellow golfmates tents when it suddenly poured. and not forgetting the night where we had to habour on mud! It took us abt 1-1.5hrs to climb mt biang but going down took us ages. We linked up with the other 2 signal teams. Upon reaching the end, we encouraged each other by shouting 1 more knoll 1 more knoll to the end. But also not forgetting the 60-70 degree knoll that we had to climb to heartshape knoll. it was literally "rootclimbing" But finally, we managed to reached the end. Swiming across the gaint river which i forgot its name never felt so good. But all in all, 3/4 Signal Teams finished it in 3d2n. Rest and Recovery days were the best. we literally just sat outside bunk, facing the helipad and the vast Bruneian farmland eating maggie because we couldn't go to the cantenn till the last team arrived. This was my Brunei experience, something great to rmemeber but not a experience i want to go through again.

Next up, on 10th Jan 2010, the same day which i touched down, i had to book back into stagmont camp in the evening. This was when Pro Term started. Signals was pretty much very knowledge based and it was something totally different compared to service term where we were stuck in the classroom most of the time. Somehow, there was more expected out of us overall in terms of discipline, intiative, knowledge etc etc compared to service term. The morale of the course remained at an all time low all the way till ROC. Our morale was constantly pushed lower by our course commanders and oc because they were very particular about many things. Then, i tried to see the light at every opportunity, even if it was a glimmer and tried to boost the morale up within my small group of friends. Exercises were of a much different estab now and focused more on planning instead of the chiong sua part. Missions now made us sleep deprived. Here in pro term, my fitness dropped drastically because of the lack of pt due to the packed schedule and high learning curve required. There was also alot of rubber timing and time wasted waiting for the instructors to finish their brief. which could take hours waiting outside the instructors office. ROC was the best time of my life here in Signals. The weather was good! and now the exercises made more sense now. The course worked more cohesively and me and my friends got tighter. It brought out the true colours of some of my peers and there i found new friends which i can rely upon in the future. I appreciated seeing the giant bhudda outside my window because it meant that i wasn't outfield but in camp and also it was a landmark which i can tell myself, that we're finally reaching back camp. the highlight of the 3 weeks there was the 72km route march. it was pretty enjoyable with the changign landscapes and the time where we spent with each other. The charlie mike at the end was super cheat feeling. it was only the part where i felt pain walking. They basically told us that we're heading back to camp because the ex was cut due to a cold front. They sealed the back of the humveee, drove off and the next thing you know it, we were dropped at some weird place. We were told some chinese poem but the jeez of it was that we are to head west along 158 jia and we'll find our destination. it was known by the signal ppl as the silk road, where we had to just walk and walk and walk and walk along a lonng straight road which had no ending. It tested our perseverence and mental resiliance to just go through it. But whatever starts too must end and we finally reached the end as the 2nd team. (i still think that we were the first pfft) R&R was great. i want to go back there and meet the chicks again! but that was all for our overseas exercise. The last month and a half in pro term was spent on our specialization phase and also our csb and atp. csb was piss shag man! "REEL LINES!" was always heard everynight where we were called out from our bunks to literally reel lines or to settle admin stuff. This was the reason why we had so lil admin time haha.

Joint term was the time of our lives. Suddenly, there was an influx of admin time and no one was around to tell us what we should do (except for the training prog). Things were so much slacker now, we no longer had to march properly no sing loudly. The aim of these 3 weeks was to train up for our commissioning parade on 19th June. I enjoyed the privilege of getting a 2man bunk again, with a working computer and loads of cupboard space. I bunked in with john low and my bunk became sort of a game hub. Signals shared GOLF wing with Armor. It certainly brough back many memories. Joint Term saw many of us catching up with one another and also making many new friends in the process. Here we had our very first nights out in our entire cadet life. YES, i took them 8 months to decide to give us nights out. tsk. Parades were shag but it eventually prep-ed us for the parade of our lives. Soon, we found some fun in the parades, talking amongst one another, making jokes while we tried to surive the many re-runs of the whole 1hr plus ceremony.

after 9 months of rigous and tough training where many were pushed to their own limit which also saw many defining moments which displayed the spirit of the human endeavor.
men dressed in white no 1 uniform don their peak caps and prepare themselves for a parade of their lives, showing the world that they're prepared, prepared to be newly commissioned officers of the Singapore Armed Forces. According to the spectators, the parade was quite the show of the night.

the feeling of accomplishment and pride filled the parade square as we all threw our caps high into the sky and hugging the fellow newly commissioned officers, basking in the new found light. that was the moment that many thought "it was worth it" this moment was certainly one that i will remember for life. i can't help but say again the joy and euphoria that filled me as i heard "LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, MAY I PRESENT THE NEWLLYYY COMMISSSIONNED OFFICCEERS" which was the cue. i jumped and threw my cap as high as i could, screaming with joy as i ran to retrieve my cap and huged my friends around me. i wish i could experience that adrenaline again. but oh wells.

another chapter ends and a new one begins, one which will be full of surprises. i am at the top of the safti tower and i'm about to jump down into the abyss of the unknown trying to catch the ropes as fast as i can. thats life of a 2lt now. one big word, responsibility.

CONGRATULATIONS FELLOW 7709 OCC GRADUATES! i'm glad i went through the journey with you guys and will miss you guys very much when we've parted our ways to our new units.

all the best to my good friends in SOCC! esp john low, george thng, lychee, zenny, jy, jianlun, shawnzee, kenny, vincent, and many more (party because i'm booking in and i've got no time to type all) okay am about to cry now.

OUT to you!
tee, with much <3