For CPT Wan Wei Jin, being a pilot with the RSAF is a childhood dream come true. When he was younger, his father frequently took him to air shows, where he would witness enthralling aerobatic displays. Since then, his sole aspiration was to become a fighter pilot.
On the other hand, pursuing a career with our Armed Forces was never part of ME2 Joanne Tan’s plan. After graduating from Singapore Polytechnic, she worked as a Customer Service Officer at a bank. Two months into the job, she realised that she wanted something more dynamic and challenging.
While she had never considered joining the RSAF, all this changed after she visited a career fair with a friend. She shares, “I found myself drawn to the interesting and challenging job scope of an Air Force Engineer (Maintenance). At the same time, it was relevant to my Electrical Engineering diploma. My friend and I then submitted our applications – and here we are, still soaring with the RSAF after 14 years!”
A Meaningful Vocation
As a fighter pilot, CPT Wan ensures that our skies remain free from airborne threats. He says, “When I am airborne at night and looking upon the whole of Singapore, I feel fulfilled knowing that what I do makes a difference to the nation’s defence and that my loved ones can sleep peacefully.” This sense of purpose to safeguard our country is imbued in every officer of the RSAF.
ME2 Joanne Tan
Lead Air Force Engineer (Maintenance)
“However, we do not do this alone. In my Squadron, we focus a lot on team work. Every member of the team plays an important role in the success of the team.
“Individuals are given greater responsibilities as time progresses. For instance, I started out with simple daily duties before upkeeping the daily flying tempo of the Squadron. This teaches each aircrew member that they are contributing to mission success by playing his or her part in the Squadron, no matter how menial the tasks,” explains CPT Wan.
As for ME2 Tan, she had recently been posted to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platform as Lead Air Force Engineer (Maintenance). Her daily routine includes maintaining, preparing and servicing the Heron-1 UAV to ensure that it is ready for flight. The dynamism of her job arises from unpredictable mission changes and the need to solve complex aircraft defects. “Some of these defects are unique and unfamiliar and therefore, we have to brainstorm as a team to solve them. The most fulfilling part of the job is definitely seeing our aircraft take off and land safely every day!” says ME2 Tan.
CPT Wan Wei Jin
To be operationally ready round-the-clock, the RSAF ensures that every officer is equipped with first-class skills. As a pilot, CPT Wan has undergone regular training exercises and missions to hone his proficiency. “Our training stints serve as a good platform for practice and enable us to master our skills. This is important as there is no room for error when in-flight,” shares CPT Wan.
The RSAF also sends their servicemen and women overseas to receive the specialised training needed to reach their fullest potential. CPT Wan’s training path took him across the globe to countries like Australia and the United States (US). This afforded him opportunities to not only receive valuable training, but also to fly in far-flung places. “Flying across the US as part of a “Cross-Country” flight is one of the most unforgettable experiences thus far,” quips CPT Wan.
For ME2 Tan, she had the exhilarating opportunity to be part of the RSAF’s elite Black Knights Team. During this attachment, she participated in internationally renowned air shows held in Melbourne, Australia and Langkawi, Malaysia.
“Travelling overseas and performing at international air shows is an eye-opening experience. It gave me the opportunity to grow professionally and show participating countries what the RSAF is capable of,” says ME2 Tan.
The Sky is the Limit
Speaking from their wealth of experience, both ME2 Tan and CPT Wan have some valuable advice for those keen on taking flight with the RSAF. CPT Wan imparts, “If you have a passion for flying and the drive to succeed, a career with the RSAF will bring you a type of job satisfaction which no other job can offer. You will be working in a fast-paced environment where there are opportunities to work on different aircraft and various mission types. Every day brings on a new challenge!”
ME2 Tan adds, “If you have an interest in working in a dynamic environment, then this is the job for you. Girls should not be afraid of the Basic Military Training – it is really not as tough as you imagine it to be! It isz structured to train your body and instil in you the fundamentals of being a soldier, which includes weapon handling and drills.”