Saturday, July 3, 2010

National Day Parade 2010: 3rd Combined Rehearsal

Loyalty to country

Flag bearers: Singapore Army full-time National Servicemen, Lance Corporal Hidayat (right), 19, and Private Koh Si Kai (left), 20, both from Combat Service Support Command, dress their scout jeep's radio antenna with a Singapore flag. The two years of National Service is a rite of passage for Singaporean teenagers which gives them the opportunity to mature and meet other Singaporeans from all walks of life.


In command: Captain Ng from the Singapore Combat Engineers conducts an after-action review with his men. Such debriefs allow Mobile Column participants to hear higher command's feedback and their mission intent. This is crucial as National Day Parade (NDP) Combined Rehearsals always - repeat always - result in changes to the format and timing of the show as the vetting process gets underway.

Military cops: Motorbikes from the SAF Military Police Command mass along Nicoll Highway. (Image taken during CR4)

Traffic management is just one of the critical roles that MP Command performs in peacetime and during operations.

MPs stationed at critical road junctions and river crossing points help maintain the pace of advance against hostile forces by ensuring proper march discipline of SAF units. The age-old job of MPs which calls for them to provide directions in unfamiliar territory is reduced as the SAF fields more satellie navigation systems in its teeth arms and support units.


A helping hand: Singapore Army Guardsman Lance Corporal Md Haikal, 20, gives a pedestrian directions as foot traffic is held up by the Mobile Column during CR3.

NSFs like LCP Haikal are responsible for upholding the image of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), especially when they are deployed for duty during high-profile events like NDP. Their attitude, bearing and the manner in which they interact with the public can make or break the SAF's image.

Fighting spirit

Advance & Overcome: The SAF's advantage in cutting-edge military hardware will count for nought if it lacks the commitment of Singapore's citizen soldiers to take up arms when their country is threatened.

Though Singaporeans are champion grumblers, Singaporean society has proven surprisingly resilient when the occasion demands. A case in point is how Singaporeans closed ranks and opened their wallets to support post-tsunami recovery efforts.

And while NSFs and operationally-ready NSmen may grumble about their NS commitments, when push comes to shove, many do step forward willingly. Most Singaporeans are street-wise enough to know that if they do not defend themselves, nobody else will.


At NDP Combined Rehearsals, Mobile Column participants can rely on road marshals for guidance, direction and convoy movement advice.

But in many military situations in peacetime, during times of troubled peace and especially in war, SAF servicemen and servicewomen must rely on their own judgement and moral compass to do what is "right".

The training that NSFs undergo from day one of their Basic Military Training nudges them towards a high standard of personal conduct and prepares them for leadership positions, be it at officer or specialist level.

Care for soldiers

Life First: The SAF has a mission-ready casualty management system for handling battlefield casualties. The SAF Medical Corps' triage system is supported by the Army's armoured ambulances (seen here) that will whisk casualties to safety under hostile fire.

Singapore's warfighters are backstopped by Republic of Singapore Air Force planes and helicopters that can be reconfigured for Casevac duty and Republic of Singapore Navy ships - principally requisitioned merchant vessels - fitted as hospital ships. 

The studs on the Bronco's ambulance are attachment points for additional armour. I have only seen a Bronco fully-fiited with add-on armour once - during the Bronco roll-out ceremony at Singapore Technologies Kinetics. To this day I regret not taking a picture of the vehicle. :-( 

Terrex infantry fighting vehicles assemble for the CR4 Mobile Column rehearsal under the watchful eyes of Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) safety officers and WOSEs (Warrant Officers/Speciaists).

The safety vehicle is one of the most "powerful" support vehicles because it can literally stop the column in its tracks if it spots safety infringements.

The SAF, as an organisation with many moving parts, places heavy emphasis on training and operational safety. It recognises strong safety awareness and a safe work culture as precursors to the SAF's ability to get the job done right and with maximum effect.[Many thanks to personnel of safety vehicle xxx56 MID]

Team Excellence
The 210 vehicles that make up the NDP 2010 Mobile Column are backed up by a supporting cast of Singapore Armed Forces and Home Team personnel, many of whom NDP spectators will not get to see because their duty post is far from the Padang.

Road marshals like Lance Corporal Danny Low (centre), 21, Specialist Cadets Frewain John (left), 21, and Noel Manasseh, 19, are integral to the Mobile Column's success. They help the vehicles form up in the correct march order and keep the Mobile Column in sync with the parade time sheet.

The success of the Mobile Column depends heavily on the collective contributions of many individuals. Team Excellence is achieved when the net effect of the group working together in unison exceeds the sum of individual efforts.


Anonymous said...

good sharing & observations, if people does not know you, will think you are a regular in SAF : )

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you point out what I think are the clearest statements of capability in the mobile column -- the mobile kitchen, toilet and laundry? I think they send a very very clear message which, unfortunately, most people will not hear...