Republic of Singapore Air Force
Feature | RSAF

Off the Beaten Track and Into the Skies

The Republic of Singapore Air Force is committed to defending Singapore, overcoming adversity and deterring potential air threats. Defending the skies begins with training on the ground, ME4 Ng and SSG Lim share about their personal training journeys which enabled them to soar to new heights of success.

SSG Lim Pei Zhen

People are the heart of the Republic of Singapore Airforce (RSAF). It is the dedication of their airmen and women that allows the capabilities of high-end weaponry and sophisticated systems to be capitalised upon fully.

ME4 Joann Ng, an Air Force Engineer, is one such shining example. Her primary responsibility is to ensure that the Chinook, one of the RSAF's helicopters, is ready to be deployed for missions. As for SSG Lim Pei Zhen, her primary role is to conduct air-to-air refuelling from aboard the RSAF A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft as an Aircrew Specialist (ACS) (Air Refuelling Operator). In addition, she partakes in emergency rescue missions when being called upon.

Within a hangar bustling with life and activities, where the planes themselves seem to come to life amidst many aircrew and ground crew working together, the two airwomen spoke to us about how the RSAF has enabled them to achieve their dreams.

Why did you both choose the RSAF?

SSG LIM:My sister was an infantry officer, and I really looked up to her. However, as I explored the various military careers available, I felt that the RSAF would be the best for me. Amongst the extensive list of vocations that the RSAF has, the ACS vocation appealed to me the most due to the possible overseas opportunities and the ability to help others during Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions.

Being the first female ACS in the RSAF was challenging as there were high expectations ofme. I like challenges and hope to attract more females to join our community because being an ACS is fun, challenging, and meaningful.

ME4 Ng:Since young, I had a strong interest in science anda keen aptitude for mathematics,and I thought that it was the "marriage" of these two subjects that "birthed" engineering, which plays a crucial part in our daily lives.

Also, a military career is challenging yet extraordinary. After attending various career roadshows and talks that my school organised, I decided it was the RSAF for me!

"The RSAF provides many opportunities for its people to grow to be better versions of themselves." SSG Lim

Tell us about some exciting moments that made you proud to have chosen RSAF.

SSG LIM:There was a rescue mission where our team swiftly evacuated a civilian casualty out at sea back to Singapore for immediate medical treatment. During the mission, my team and I had to ensure that the medical equipment and supplies were secure while maintaining the safety of everyone onboard the aircraft. I also had the opportunity to participate in overseas exercises which exposed me to working with crew members from other parts of the world. I only had these novel experiences because I was in the RSAF.

ME4 Ng:For me, there isn't a particular moment.Rather, managing multiple internal and external projects simultaneously and successfully is enough to make me feel extremely proud. As a junior officer, I think these opportunities are hard to come by and I am honoured to be leading the different teams to achieve mission success.

Pei Zhen

As an Aircrew Specialist (Air Refuelling Operator) in the RSAF, SSG Lim's primary job is to conduct air-to-air refuelling from aboard the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. In addition, she partakes in emergency rescue missions. SSG Lim has a Diploma in Business Management from Nanyang Polytechnic.

Both of you have emphasised the importance of teamwork in the RSAF. Tell us more about the working culture that facilitates such strong bonds?

SSG LIM:All of us have mutual respect for each other's roles. No matter the rank, we can safely share our opinions and concerns in the squadron. Additionally, safety has always been the top priority for RSAF, and there are many systems put in place to ensure that we can perform our tasks safely. With this common goal in mind, it helps us work as a team and look out for each other's safety, like a family would.

ME4 Ng:It is collaborative. We embrace each other's differences and play to each other's strengths and competencies. Everyone plays a part in the team.

"As a woman, a military career is challenging yet extraordinary. After attending the various career roadshows and talks that my school organised, I decided it was the RSAF for me!" ME4 Ng

As an Air Force Engineer

As an Air Force Engineer, ME4 Ng works closely with the rest of her crew to ensure the electronics systems of the Chinook (CH-47D) are operable. She has a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) from Nanyang Technological University.

This is an organisation that anyone would be proud to join. What awaits new recruits?

SSG LIM:The RSAF provides many opportunities for its people to grow to be a better version of themselves. This includes posting its people to appointments with leadership development opportunities. Moreover, we constantly learn new things through various tasks beyond our primary job. In addition, the organisation provides sponsorship opportunities for further studies.

ME4 Ng:The RSAF provides many opportunities for individuals to develop their passion. There are many vocations in the air force beyond engineering.

Lastly, what would you say to recommend a jobseeker to RSAF?

SSG LIM: Working in a military environment is quite a unique experience. It requires full commitment, teamwork, resilience, and open-mindedness to execute the missions efficiently and effectively. In this dynamic environment, we must be ready to manage different situations as they come. Therefore, the training fundamentals and teamwork are the most important foundations in carrying out our job safely daily.

ME4 Ng:A job in the RSAF would be a challenging yet fulfilling one. If you're looking for a meaningful career, the RSAF is the place to be!