Reflection By: LTA(NS) Gan Zhang Xun, Training Coordinating Officer of East District
When I first received my posting from my Platoon Commander from Officer Cadet School (OCS), I was shrouded by uncertainty as to what my posting as a Training Coordinating Officer in NCC would encompass. All I knew was my commandant was the ex-Echo Wing Commander, a man whose reputation preceded him, LTC Richard Koh.
During my first week, I was posted to East District as the Training Coordinating Officer. The East District people welcomed me with open arms and created such a warm atmosphere, ensuring that I did not feel out of place as a “newbie”. I had the privilege of being under the tutelage of my upperstudy for 4 months, unlike the other newly posted in officers who could only experience it for 2 months.
Learning the new roles and responsibilities that I suddenly had to shoulder was unlike anything OCS taught me, especially in a unit where MOE and SAF are in collaboration. Other than coordinating the administrative side of things, where I had to liaise with schools for various activities, I was the conducting officer for all East District events, making sure each and every conduct runs smoothly with minimal hiccups. Not forgetting that on top of all this, Commandant would always initiate physical training challenges with the officers.
The biggest challenge I personally faced was having to be the boss of my own decisions, knowing that I had to consider the various consequences and all repercussions would stem from the decision I made. Back when I was a trainee in the first 14 months of National Service, all we had to do was to follow the timings given by commanders and to be ready for the activity. In OCS we were given appointment holder positions but at the end of the day the major decisions came down to the commanders’ discretion. I think my time in NCC has really helped me to trust myself and be more confident in making crunch decisions.
Throughout my journey in NCC, I had to work hand in hand with many cadet officers, cadets whose passion lies in NCC and choose to continue inspiring and developing cadets even after they officially graduated from Secondary School education. Seeing so many cadet officers coming back voluntarily, most of the time having to absent themselves from school simply showed the pride and dedication they have when they don the uniform, and this was especially heartwarming to me. I would say dealing with cadets is a whole different ball game as compared to soldiers in a typical Singapore Armed Forces unit, as after all they are secondary school students and I learnt to tailor my expectations to better enhance their NCC experience.
My most memorable experience in NCC would be conducting the 67th Cadet Officer Course. This course spanned over 2 weeks, where the top Secondary 4 cadets are selected from their school units to partake in this mentally and physically challenging course to pass out as cadet officers of NCC. Seeing the cadets progress from the first day where they took a whopping 30 minutes just to correctly account for strength to the moment they marched off the parade square as newly minted cadet officers was a proud moment for me, knowing I had a part in moulding them into leaders of NCC.
I have learnt a lot from my time in NCC, and hope to carry with me the friendships nurtured and memories forged even after I leave the organization. ORD LO!! ☺
– LTA (NS) Gan Zhang Xun