I Am My Father’s Son: Celebrating Inspiring Defender Dads In The SAF
STORY: Ng Kai
18 June 2021
It is the duty of every Singaporean Son to protect his nation when he is of age, but some grow up already determined to join the Singapore Armed Forces because of certain father figures. This Father's Day, we take a look at some amazing father-son duos and how these "defender dads" have been role models not only to their own flesh and blood but also the soldiers assigned to their watch.
CPT S Kurumbaesun and dad SWO (Ret) Sathiamoorthy S/O Shanamugam
The father: The 56-year-old retired in May this year, completing his Air Force career of 36 years as an air defence systems specialist.
Why he’s #1: On one occasion, he remained overnight with his wife in the hospital to watch over their daughter. He still had to wake at 5am the next day to conduct a parade rehearsal at Tengah Air Base.
The son: The 26-year-old is an Air Warfare Officer (Air Traffic Control) who was also a Sword of Honour recipient and his Company's Best Recruit during Basic Military Training.
2LT Ryan Koh and dad LTC (Ret) Richard Koh
The father: The 48-year-old retired in 2019, and is currently working as a senior manager at Aviva.
Why he’s #1: 2LT Koh says his father was his main source of inspiration growing up, and looked to a military career to continue nurturing the good values his father had instilled in him since young.
The son: The 20-year-old has completed his nine-month officer cadet training and will soon be with the 1st Commando Battalion and attend the Commando Officer Conversion Course.
3SG Stefan Tan and dad SLTC (Ret) Tan Wei Min
The father: The retired 54-year-old was the first Commanding Officer of Formidable-class frigate RSS Supreme, and led RSS Supreme on her maiden voyage to the RIMPAC exercise off the coast of Hawaii in 2010. She even made cinematic history by appearing in the 2012 blockbuster, "Battleship".
Why he’s #1: Facebook comments from some of SLTC (Ret) Tan’s men depict how he’s an outstanding leader. Writes FB user @VinodKumar: “The father was one of the best Commanders I've served under. A true men's officer. Aka Bulldog!”.
The son: Talk about following in one's father's footsteps: the 21-year-old is a Marine Systems Operator, and he spent a total of 67 consecutive days on RSS Supreme for RIMPAC 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
2LT Muhammad Zayan Bin Omar and dad MWO Omar Bin Osman
The father: MWO Omar is Chief Master Trainer at the Specialist and Warrant Officer Institute.
Why he’s #1: 2LT Zayan recounts how “Despite being exhausted from work, he still comes home with a smile and always spends time with us. I would also like to thank him for the guidance ever since I stepped into the Army. I am very fortunate to have a mentor whom I also call ‘my father’”.
The son: 2LT Zayan is a Platoon Commander from the 5th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (5 SIR).
MSG Reuben Tan and dad 1WO Ronald Tan
The father: The 61-year-old is currently a trainer in the Armour Training Institute. He will retire this coming July after a long stint of 42 years in the Army.
Why he’s #1: Facebook comments show just how much of a father figure he is both in and out of uniform. Writes FB user @JasonOng: “To say he puts his family first is an understatement. I have known Encik Ronald for the last 30 plus years and even the men under his charge were never neglected. The SAF was also his extended family. He is an outstanding WO and mentor to many of us. Thank you Encik Ronald for your service to us and to the SAF".
The son: The 29-year-old is currently the SAFARI Weapon Locating Radar Detachment second-in-command in 24th Battalion, Singapore Artillery.