Saturday, July 7, 2012

5th Company BASIC MILITARY TRAINING (BMT) Graduates!

 Good Evening Sirs and Mdms!

After 9 hard weeks, BMT has finally come to an end. The recruits has trained hard and our results, as usual, proves their potential. We will be doing our 24km route march this Saturday, starting from SAF Ferry Terminal at around 5pm. The route we are taking will be along Changi Coast Road, followed by the entire stretch of East Coast Park, followed by Benjamin Sheares Bridge and ending off at the F1 Paddock. You can support your son by turning up along any point of the route march.

The recruits have been busy rehearsing for their parade this Sunday and judging from the past 2 days of rehearsals, its going to be quite a show. Bear in mind that the rehearsals in Pulau Tekong is just a rough mock up and guide. The recruits have never been to the actual location to rehearse. Information about the parade can be found here: . I am proud to be leading them on parade this Sunday.THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO ALL OFFICERS AND RECRUITS IN 5TH COMPANY.  We salute 5th Company

The BMT Graduation Route March
Posted: 07 Feb 2012, 1000 hours (Time is GMT +8 hours)
Written by: Ng Han Liang
Photos by: Wee Hong Shin and Vishnu Prem
Having experienced my BMT graduation in Pulau Tekong more than a year ago, I have heard much chatter from my peers who have graduated from BMT recently and had the privilege of going through their graduation rite of passage in mainland. The current graduation route march implemented in October 2010 takes recruits through a journey along several key landmarks of Singapore, not only said to bring forth an emotive ‘homecoming’ sensation but also triggers the thoughts of the graduating recruits in realizing the need to shoulder the responsibility of taking on the ownership to defend the peace and prosperity of our nation and homeland. A recent conversation with a friend graduating from BMT enthused me to experience this unique journey first-hand.
I set out in the afternoon on 7 January to join the recruits on their 24km graduation route march which began a distance from the SAF ferry terminal at Changi where they disembarked from Tekong Island as newly trained soldiers who have completed their Basic Military Training.

1730hrs. Upon arrival at the ferry terminal, I met 3SG Nicholas from BMTC School 3 who made the transport arrangements to take us to the start point. While he was engaged on the phone with the driver, I put down my baggage and took a walk outside to immerse in the hive of activity where the recruits assembled. I was greeted by the faces of recruits of Jaguar Company that beamed with excitement, cast brightly by the afternoon sun. They were jubilant in anticipation of their journey to the Marina floating Platform where they will meet their loved ones at the graduation parade.
1811hrs. I made my way back to the waiting area where 3SG Nicholas was scrambling his baggage together. He gestured outside signaling to the driver, LCP Dino who was already waving at us with his Black Ford Vehicle. We loaded our equipment on the vehicle and were ferried to the start point along Changi Ferry Road. It was a large open grass patch with the calming view of the sea in the background. Companies of recruits have walked along the park connector trail to assemble here where they performed dynamic warm-up exercises before the march.

1837hrs. Here, some commanders took the opportunity to give their last motivational speeches before the march to make heighten the morale of their recruits. Others even made jokes to ease the anxiety of their troops. My brief conversation with Recruit Abdul Razif from Eagle Company minutes before their march-off revealed a common sentiment amongst many recruits. REC Abdul Razif said ‘ The furthest I’ve marched so far is 16km. It was tough for me. I believe the 24km this time is going to be even tougher, but we are all graduating and I want to complete this.’

1900hrs. I tagged along the first company of the 2nd wave of recruits, Bronco Company as they marched off from the start point along Changi Ferry Road. 800-metres from the start point, I found myself on a long straight path with no end in sight. It was a bicycle path, part of the Park Connector(PCN) that runs alongside the runway at Changi Airport. The euphonious sounds of aircraft engines as the planes landed and took off in regular intervals reminded me of the times I spent my school vacations abroad and the fact that Changi Airport being one of the busiest Airports in the world in terms of flight frequencies also primes the economy by maintaining the flows of International Trade. It is a landmark and icon that I am proud of as a Singaporean because it distinguishes us from our foreign counterparts in the region despite Singapore being one of the smallest countries in the world.

1957hrs. Halfway along the path, we arrived at the 4-km rest point. The boundaries of the rest points were marked out using reflective cones and there was a long white tape which divided the path in half to allocate resting space for recruits as well as for member of the public as they ride by on their bicycles. We were directed to march further downstream past several allocated rest areas to the rest point on the extreme end where we were told was the area we were allocated. This truly revealed the logistical intensiveness of the planning and preparation for such a large scale event. After the standard procedure strength accounting procedure lead by recruit platoon ICs, the recruits dismounted their gear to rest and hydrate themselves. After a brief 15-minute rest, everyone strapped on their gear to continue the march. As they marched past, I waited for Eagle Company marching closely behind them.

The recruits of Eagle company may not be as physically inclined like their counterparts from the enhanced BMT cohort, but through a brief interaction with them I found them to be a little more jovial. A few characters with a striking sense of humor kept the mood of the march lighthearted for everyone throughout the march with their jokes, in between the singing of military songs in cadence.
As we marched on, we came to an end of the straight path to make a left turn to walk beside a canal. By then, night had fallen and the street lamps lit the path dimly - just enough for me to watch my footing. The shimmering tranquil water coupled with the gentle cool breeze of the night, everyone seemed to have quieten down to appreciate the serenity of the night. Past the canal, we marched across a narrow road with the aid of traffic marshalers managing oncoming vehicles. Across the road, a snaking path along Changi Coastal park connector revealed a multitude of lights from cargo ships a distance away from shore. Emerging from the canopy of trees towards the end of the snaking path, we marched past the National Service Resort and Country Club (NSRCC) to the enter East Coast Park.

2142hrs. As we marched into East Coast Park, on our left were some families having picnics and camping, having laid their mats and set up their tentages. On our right was a trail of chalets, where we glanced upon people having celebrations and barbeque parties. We marched on to our designated rest point, the company that arrived before us was already in the midst of their headcounts. We settled down to rest and looked across the path where the chalets were, to see the hive of activity at the barbeque pits and through the full length windows of the chalets. The sights and sounds of the joyous and celebratory mood and the alluring fragrance of food, no doubt it evokes food cravings for some, but overall it was like a pat on the shoulder for the recruits, giving them that extra boost in fighting spirit as they recognize themselves as defenders of the livelihood of our people.

2201hrs. As we marched further down the path along East Coast Park, fleets of anxious onlooking parents scattered along the path waiting with their cameras, hoping to get snapshots of their sons in action. Some passers-by nodded or smiled in approval, no doubt others seemed rather indifferent.
2230Hrs. We arrived at the rest point at halfway mark just 3 kilometers away, at the 11.5-km mark. Several companies of recruits were already gathered here on the grass patch to rest for drinks and snacks of bananas and ice popsicles. We had a half hour long break and it was here where the parents were advised to wait if they wanted to meet their sons or take pictures. I took the opportunity to interact with some recruits of Dragon Company. One of the recruits I spoke to was REC Kuan Yu Xiang who appreciated going through this rite of passage in mainland. He said ' I like it here because it's more enjoyable when u get to see landmarks that you are familiar with and the pace is more manageable when the ground is consistently flat. Another recruit, REC Ho Kin Yuan mentioned 'The route march being one-way gives the recruits a sense of completion and accomplishment; a milestone that concludes their journey and that spurs them on.' He also added that 'Marching past the key landmarks of Singapore through the night allows the recruits to appreciate the measure of peace and security our people enjoy as a nation which is not to be taken for granted.'After entering the deployment grounds, our troops began setting up their guns to get ready for the live-firing.

2305hrs. I sought to continue the march with Bronco Coy After a long 30 minute rest, our cooled-down bodies shivered from the cold of our sweat - drenched uniforms with the night breeze. It continued for 10-minutes before we warmed ourselves up again on the march. With visibility even lower now, it was tough staying focused. Some recruits staggered sideways for a moment when they dosed off. The tougher characters in the midst shouted to cheer on their peers to persevere on. We marched past the National Sailing Centre, Outward Bound Singapore and the array of seafood restaurants and eateries and the Water Ski Park , finally arriving at the 16-km rest point just before East Coast Park Carpark C1 at 0017hrs. We were told the rest time given for this checkpoint was only 10 minutes, as the next checkpoint was only 2.5-km away. Our journey to the 18.5-km checkpoint was mainly past a series of construction sites to an open patch before Fort Road Roundabout.
0116hrs. Here was where the adrenaline in our veins began to counter the fatigue from our weariness and sleep deprivation. After all, it was already past one in the morning. Everyone hastened their strides to make their best of what they could muster. Suddenly with loud exclamations and cheers, a voice far in front echoed 'It's the MBS!' The excitement manifested downstream along the human chain and everyone picked up pace onward to the 22.5-km checkpoint.

0200Hrs. We arrived at Benjamin Sheares Bridge, with a treat of the picturesque view of the cityscape overlooking the Marina Bay reservoir. There was an overbearing sense of accomplishment and some recruits have already began congratulating each other to have made it thus far. We rested to ready ourselves for the final stride across Sheares Bridge.

0237hrs. We strapped on our gear and braced ourselves for the final stride. We climbed the flight of stairs that took us on Sheares Bridge and began we march across the bridge. The bird's eye view of the cityscape here was more spectacular than before. The march down-slope was a breeze and it took us to the heart of the Central Business District.
The recruits proceeded on to the F1 paddock for a few hours of rest to prep ourselves for the parade by daybreak. Here I met the BMTC Media Crew and left with them to the Control Room at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.

0812Hrs. Watching the parade on the Marina Bay Floating Platform with the audience on the lower terraces, it was a hair raising experience as the newly minted soldiers marched onto the floating platform from both flanks of the grand stand. At that moment, from the rugged expression on their faces, I was certain that there was a surge of patriotism and spirit of the camaraderie and that innately, they believed in their purpose and responsibility in defending the nation. As they came to a halt, they stood tall and proud, earning much cheers and applause from the audience. It is amazing how the shear morale and mental perseverance in them left no hint of the bone-weariness they were enduring from the agonizing journey. This rite of passage marks another milestone in their lives, where they have discovered their new thresholds and emerged as a new cohort of young resilient defenders of our country.    We salute 5th Company USS Enterprise's enemies were everywhere 360 battlefield under water, water horizon, skyward .
Proud moment for our soldiers.ORD LOH!
Proud moment for our soldiers
Recital of the SAF Pledge
We, Members of the Singapore Armed Forces, do solemnly and sincerely pledge that: We will always bear true faith and allegiance to the President and the Republic of Singapore. We will always support and defend the constitution. We will preserve and protect the honour and independence of our country with our lives.

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