Last Saturday, Jacqueline and I celebrated our 32nd monthsary in a rather interesting way; a visit to Nee Soon Camp for the Singapore Armed Forces [SAF] Army Mobilisation Exercise [MOBEX] that involved personnels from the 76th Singapore Infantry Brigade.
Now, having ORD-ed one year ago, I have not been called up for any In Camp Training [ICT], reservist, nor been involved in any form of military exercise. I know it’s a taboo to even be mentioning about this and who knows, I might probably receive a letter tomorrow for ICT.
The time spent at Nee Soon Camp was an extremely fruitful one because not only have I gotten the opportunity to understand how the MOBEX is being carried out, Jacqueline also had the rare privilege to understand and have a taste of what the Army and National Service [NS] is all about.
Prior to the MOBEX, we have absolutely no clue as to when we would be activated to go down to Nee Soon Camp and when we received a text message from the Army Public Relations Officer at 0700 hours in the morning, about 8 hours before we had to “report” to Nee Soon Camp, we prepared our equipment [cameras, spare batteries, memory cards, tripod] and headed straight to Nee Soon Camp.
When we reached Nee Soon Camp, we were greeted by a team of Army Officers whom brought us around the various locations and I was actually honoured to have Senior Lieutenant Colonel [S/LTC] Ng to lead us around because back then, he was my Basic Military Training Centre [BMTC] School 3 Commanding Officer during my Basic Military Training [BMT] days. Seeing him brought back many memorable memories of the time I spent during my NS. Apart from that, we were also quite surprised to learn that a friend of ours was the Commanding Officer of a battalion involved in the MOBEX!
If you noticed, the beret of the Infantry has changed to a lighter olive green colour and all infantry troopers will soon be issued with the new beret!
Our first stop for the day was to check out the in-processing/registration counters for the MOBEX. This is also the first stop where personnels whom have been mobilised would have to report to and have their attendance registered into the system.
With the process of the in-processing being automated, the waiting time has also been significantly reduced. This certainly helps to save time and ensures that time is spent doing more meaningful activities.
When a personnel heads to the in-processing counter, he will be issued with a card that indicates all the essential details pertaining to the MOBEX. Some details would include things like the role he plays and the equipment that he needs to be issued with.
After the in-processing is done, the personnel will head over to the Equipping Centre to draw his weapon, and then if necessary, his communications [comms] set. Following which, the personnel will then draw his personal equipment i.e raincoat, ET blade, groundsheet, and etc.
Captain Leo showing us the neatly packed weapon kit that contains all that is needed to maintain and equip the weapon.
Captain Leo showing us the neatly packed personal equipment kit.
We were brought through the entire process of what a personnel is supposed to do when he is activated for a MOBEX and we were quite amazed that at every point, the personnel is engaged with whatever he needs to do. It is also interesting to note that every equipment issued was done in a neat and proper order; thus ensuring that every mobilised personnel is ready to be deployed in a short matter of time.
In the past, MOBEX took up quite a lot of time and the wastage of time was rather evident [if not, why do you think the phrase, “Army wait to rush and rush to wait” exists? Now, with technological advances and innovative ideas, the Army has really re-invented the way personnels are being mobilised.
Apart from the drawing of equipment and the accounting of men for the MOBEX, personnels also had a go at refreshing their military skills at the Soldier Fundamental [SOFUN] stations. The SOFUN stations at the MOBEX were very useful for the personnels involved because it helps to reinforce what they have previously learnt during their NS days.
We even had a go at the SOFUN stations and the first one that we went to was the station where personnels reinforce their military skills in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Defence [CBRD]. Here, we donned on the Mission Oriented Protective Posture [MOPP] 4 uniform and we took a short stroll around the vicinity.
Collecting the MOPP 4.
The MOPP 4 kit.
This certainly reminded me of my NS days when I was an Officer Cadet [OCT] at SAFTI Military Institute because we had a similar sort of training where we had to don on the MOPP 4, go into a chamber, and experience the effects of tear gas on the human body while doing some light physical training.
It certainly was a very interesting experience for Jacqueline.
Us in MOPP 4.
We then proceeded to the second station which was located at the shooting range.
At the shooting range, we went through a similar SAR-21 weapon technical handling refresher course that personnels had to undergo and I was hoping that we had the opportunity to strip and assemble the weapon but that wasn’t the case.
We learnt about some drills such as the loading and unloading of the rifle, immediate actions to carry out in case of no feeding or double feeding, and clearing the weapon to make sure that it is safe for storage.
For the mobilised personnels, they were given magazines loaded with live rounds for their currency shoots and hearing the explosive shots from the rifle makes the whole session so thrilling.
Thereafter we embarked for the last SOFUN station where mobilised personnels reinforce their first-aid skills like cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR], using the automated external defibrillator [AED], and the tying of bandages.
These First Aid Dressings [FAD] are pretty useful for dressing wounds.
Check out this video if you want to learn how to carry out CPR.
Overall, we had a rather enjoyable learning experience at Nee Soon Camp and we really want to thank the team of Army Officers and Army Public Relations Officers for hosting us. The MOBEX experience was indeed eye-opening and the next time I get mobilised, I definitely have a clearer picture of what to expect.
Certainly, the MOBEX today is entirely different from that of the past. It was heartening to see our NS-men so committed and engaged to the defence of our country that when the button is pushed, Singaporean sons from all walks of life will come together and get down to serious business. There’s definitely no room for time wastage, idling, and nonsense. Everyone of the NS-men was serious and mission ready.
Indeed, we should be proud of our NS-men and truly, our Army is Ready, Decisive, and Respected!