Joining the Navy is typically not the first thing that may come to mind for young job-seekers. Military Expert 3 (ME3) Joe Yeo Tee Hwa and Military Expert 2 (ME2) Amy Lim Lay Chu share why they chose to take up the challenge to join the RSN.
An Extraordinary Job for Extraordinary People
It was ME3 Joe’s childhood dream to join the Navy. He has always been captivated by warships and was drawn to a non-deskbound career where there are opportunities for travel and upgrading. He shares: “The Navy not only offers a career that is meaningful, challenging, enriching and rewarding, but also brings me to many interesting destinations around the world.” Military Experts in the Singapore Armed Forces are given leadership roles throughout their careers and ME3 Joe is currently serving as the Coxswain of RSS Victory, a Missile Corvette. A Coxswain (pronounced “Cox’n”) is a Navy term that refers to the most senior and experienced sailor on board a naval warship. He is responsible for maintaining the highest standard of discipline and well-being amongst his crew. In this respect, he seeks to be a good mentor and role model for his crew on board. His role is not easy, but it is indeed very fulfilling. As a reflection of the organisation’s focus on providing opportunities to upgrade their personnel, ME3 Joe was sponsored for full-time studies and achieved a Diploma (with Merit) in Electronics.
ME2 Amy Lim Lay Chu
Operation Supervisor, HQ 3rd Flotilla
For ME2 Amy, she received a brochure from the Navy after her ‘O’ levels. She realised that not only could the Navy provide a full sponsorship for her diploma studies, but the career could fulfil her aspiration to safeguard her loved ones as well. Under the Military Expert Domain Scheme (MDES), ME2 Amy was streamed to the Communications vocation and has travelled the world, serving on board the RSN’s largest vessels, the Landing Ships Tank. As part of the dynamic career progression as a Military Expert, servicemen and women are able to regularly rotate to different appointments on both ship and shore. Currently, ME2 Amy is serving a tour in the Headquarters assisting officers in planning and executing exercises and operations. Being a female in the Navy, she shares: “The RSN provides the platform for you to see the world and to try many different things. I’m very sure there aren’t many jobs in the world that would give you the thrill when you fire live rounds from a rifle or the big guns on board the ship, the awesome feeling when you steer the ship flying the Singapore flag when conducting exercises next to other navies in the world, and the achievement you feel when you executed a mission or event safely and successfully. Why give the privilege to the guys when you can experience it yourself?”
Both ME3 Joe and ME2 Amy have had the opportunity to participate in high profile overseas missions. ME3 Joe recently came back from a successful three-month deployment as part of the Command Team taking charge of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, a multinational effort to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Being a key waterway for global shipping, this region is renowned for being a hotspot for piracy attacks. CTF 151 has been successful in ensuring the safety and security of the merchant vessels transiting the area. ME3 Joe is proud of his contributions and it is one of the highlights of his career.
ME2 Amy was deployed for a four-month deployment to the Northern Arabian Gulf to play a role in safeguarding Iraq’s reconstruction efforts in 2006. Specifically, ME2 Amy’s ship was tasked to patrol and ensure the security of the Al Başrah Oil Terminal which was responsible for 80 per cent of Iraq’s GDP at the time. Her ship’s role was to conduct security sweeps on-board vessels to ensure safe operations. She shares: “It was winter when we were deployed, so it was really cold when we carried out operations. Everyone remained in high spirits despite the challenging conditions. I can still remember my first boarding operation vividly; the adrenaline rush when I was moving towards the vessels is indescribable.” These types of missions allow Singapore to contribute to global security and stability, which in turn ensures Singapore’s continued relevance, safety, and economic prosperity.
ME3 Joe Yeo Tee Hwa
Coxswain, RSS Victory
In the RSN, the culture is that of a close-knit family. While everyone works together to complete various tasks and achieve mission success, they look out for each other. Every member of this “family” is regarded as an asset, so time is always set aside to guide juniors and ensuring knowledge and skills are imparted to help them complete tasks efficiently. Both ME3 Joe and ME2 Amy regard their fellow servicemen and women as part of an extended family where they work, sail, and play together.
Not for the Faint-Hearted
When asked what essential trait must one have for those aspiring to join the Navy, ME3 Joe and ME2 Amy both believe that resilience is the most important. Due to the challenges and hardship that one would face in a constantly dynamic environment, it is important to have fighting spirit and be able to adapt to changes. They also highlighted the importance of ethics and integrity – to make the right decision in difficult situations.
They describe their journey with the RSN as an adventure and as the saying goes: “Join the Navy, see the world!”