army journey

July 28, 2008 at 10:02 pm (randoms)

having finished nearly 18 months of my 22 months of national service, i feel its a good time to do a recap of my army journey so far as a keepsake for reading and reflection next time.

BMT

my enlistment date was on the 13th of Jan, 2007, just 2 days after i had returned from laos. mark, who had gone on the laos trip too turned out to be in the same company as me, and the funny thing was that he had shaved his head in laos, but they made him shave his head again anyway in army so he ended up with much shorter hair than the rest of us. (because the haircut aunty had to cut at least 2 bucks worth of hair off his head, and he didn’t have very much left to begin with)

i was posted to hawk company, together with loads of other scholars from RJC and HCJC, most of whom had done 2 S papers. this factor accounted for us being in the Jan, and not April batch of enlistees. hawk was supposed to be one of the slacker companies, and there were plenty of familiar RJ faces in the same company as me. amongst them were Sergius, Leslie, Chorkiang, Ben Cai and the Mok brothers, just to name a few. however most of them were in platoon 1, whereas i was in platoon 3.

BMT, or basic military training was much easier than expected. beforehand i had done plenty of elevated pushups and crunches in preparation for army, especially during the A level mugging periods. it turned out that the physical aspect of BMT turned out to be a breeze.

i had rotten luck during BMT, and i got stung by of all things, A FRIGGIN CENTIPEDE during my SIT test, short for situation test, which is an important component in determining whether you were posted to Officer Cadet School. it was this 3 day field camp where you and your section were put through various stations, during which leadership and vocalism were the main qualities looked out for. i somehow managed to ace the re-sit test, scoring 93.5 out of 100, which was the second highest in my platoon.

along the way i also got my chance at platoon IC, and if i could say so myself i think i did a pretty good job because i managed to make people happy! (which in my books is the only important criteria to fulfil as platoon IC) lol.

i tried out for the pilot test in the midst of BMT, and having passed the first round, i was sent for the pilot medical. unfortunately, there were some discrepancies in the results, and this delay resulted in me being posted to a non-combat vocation after my 9 weeks BMT stint.

OETI

or Ordnance Engineering Training Institute, as they made us memorise on the first day. basically a pes c non-combat vocation, this place was also known amongst its trainees as Only Eat Talk Idle. lucky for me it was a stay out vocation, and also close to my home, which meant that i could go home every night! all of us were issued ugly (some would say cute, but i’d call those people weird) coveralls worn by technicians.

it was a good change in environment from BMT, as i got to mix with people from poly as well as ITE, and not just people from JCs. at OETI there was an average of 2 tea breaks a day, not including lunch. we could spend this time gorging ourselves in the canteen or relaxing in the R and R room, which came complete with computers, pool tables, carom boards as well as a table tennis table.

the job scope was pretty alright too. most of the 3 months were spent learning how to repair tanks, with both practical and theory aspects covered in lessons. spanners and mallets were our best friends, and the toolbox was our constant companion. we learnt things such as track breaking, (removing the tracks from a tank, which is ALOT of work) and water proofing a tank to prepare it for a river-crossing. i must admit that i didnt pay much attention during lessons though, and hence didnt learn much about how to fix a tank. hurhur.

the suckiest part of OETI was the guard duty, which averaged to about 3 or 4 times a month, including one 24 hour shift on a weekend. other than that it was alright, and i managed to make quite a number of good friends! weikheam being amongst them.

somewhere along the 3 months in OETI, i was informed by my OC that me and another guy were being called up to go to OCS. (as somehow i had finally cleared my medical) apparently i was to be one of the only 2 people in the history of OETI to be going to OCS after completing OETI training.

i remembered he was kind of proud of me, like how a principal of XXX neighbourhood secondary would be towards his school’s top scorers in the PSLE who had successfully made it to a top school.  the other guy didn’t want to go to OCS though, as he was too used to the relaxed non-combat nature of the job, and so he intentionally failed his medical.

i didn’t mind going to OCS, so after clearing another round of medicals and the IPPT, i found myself once again packing my boots and field bag, getting ready to be posted to a combat vocation.

OCS

i was glad that i entered OCS when i did, as by entering 3 months late (due to being posted to OETI for 3 months), it meant that i ended up with the april batch of enlistees and not the jan batch.

sierra wing was my home for the next 3 months, and the batch i was with had more people from NJC, ACJC and SRJC etc, as compared to RJ and HC. i found that they were generally a funner and nicer bunch than the jan batch. it also allowed me to make more new friends, as opposed to just seeing familiar faces from RJC. nonetheless, the first day meeting with them threw up a couple of old friends (such as fangwei) whom i had lost touch with since primary school.

in OCS, once again i had the rotten luck of being appointed as the first Cadet Wing Sergeant Major (CWSM), which basically was the suckiest job of all the wing appointment holders. i was not only in charge of the discipline of the whole wing, but also of all the logistical equipment that we used in our activities.

every field camp, or any outfield activities which involved logistics would mean that i was going to be superbly busy for the rest of the day, and as a consequence of my appointment i found out that i had the least admin time of all the cadets for the good 4 weeks during which i was CWSM.  i also lagged behind in my military studies as a result, as i found myself frequently having to miss part of lectures or practicals. it didn’t help that sierra wing had a useless, lazy and fat quartermaster, although the sergeant major, 1WO Nasri was a really nice guy who helped me along alot.

lucky for me my buddy minghan was a godsend, as he was everything that i was not. he erred on the side of caution in everything he did, and was always neat, responsible and organised. you could call him a goody-two shoes in other words, except that goody-two shoes are generally disliked, and everyone liked minghan because he was nice.

i, on the other hand, would be somewhere more along the lines of happy-go-lucky random. and by extension, disorganised and messy. any free time i had would be spent with like-minded crazy people dancing to our room’s computer speakers, blasting music such as Party Like A Rockstar by Shop Boyz while topless. (enables us to get changed up much faster if we keep our pants and boots on, see. besides, its much cooler that way) or how we would be frolicking in the showers talking about random stuff while nak- (ok u don’t need to know that part)

in OCS we got to do lots of interesting stuff, like firing all sort of weapons such as the M203 grenade launcher, the SAW or semi-automatic weapon, the Metador which was an anti-weapon that could only fire once, as well as do stuff like set off detonators and eat TNT flakes. (which were yellow and FLAKY and tasted like cereal)

anyhow OCS has been the favourite part of my NS journey so far, and i remembered calling sierra wing a chalet with higher pay in an earlier blog post while still in OCS. too bad i picked up a stress fracture on my very first field camp, in the midst of casualty evacuating a section mate during an artillery drill. this injury led to my being posted to a non-combat vocation again, after my 3 months of service term in OCS. (which incidentally is widely regarded to be the toughest phase)

MSD (military security department) picked up an interest in me, and hence they sent someone down to give me an interview. this was followed up by a series of background checks and lie-detector tests, and i was given the green-light to join after clearing all of these.

MSD

is a sort of counter-intelligence agency of the army, so EVERYTHING IS SECRET CANNOT SAY. maybe after i ord. hurhur. but all i can say for now is that what i really like about it is the office-like environment. everyone is treated like a working adult, and it doesn’t even feel like you are in army anymore.

i ord nov 12th and ill probably leave camp around 5 pm after collecting my pink ic, and my parents want me to take the london-bound plane on the SAME NIGHT! the reality of leaving on the same night as my ord has just dawned upon me. so no sending off dinner with friends, no ord dinner with army people.

double frick on a stick!

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1 Comment

  1. kayleighh said,

    updateee =))

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