In April 2010, the Enhanced Warrant Officers Scheme (EWOS) was implemented and the rank of Third Warrant Officer (3WO) was born. Cue Benedict Tng, one of the youngest warrant officers in the Singapore Army. His rise to the rank of 3WO at the age of 28 is testament to Benedict’s leadership ability and his strong work ethic.
He has been an instructor at the Motorised Infantry Training Institute, a subject matter expert for simulator training and is currently a Company Sergeant Major (CSM) with the Armour Formation, a leadership role laden with the responsibility for the soldiers under him.
Benedict, father of a 3-year-old son, had an interest in life in the military at a very young age. He joined the National Cadet Corps (NCC) as a co-curricular activity during his secondary school days back in 1999.
Why the NCC?
“I think it was because of my elder brother,” recalls Benedict with a smile. “We had the chance to learn about the Army – activities like weapons handling, field camps, parades and National Education school excursions.”
After completing his O Levels, he went on to Ngee Ann Polytechnic and it was in his second year that he decided to sign on as a regular in the army, with the Joint Polytechnic-SAF Diploma Scheme.
“The Singapore Army sponsored my diploma studies, which lightened the financial load on my family – they were supportive of my decision.”
He went on to add: “For those who have the desire to further their studies, study awards are also offered to exceptional personnel in service for academic upgrading.”
As a CSM, 3WO Benedict is tasked with several roles and responsibilities that are fundamental to the success of managing a military company. On top of being in charge of enforcing regimentation and discipline of the men in his unit, he also has to ensure that the day-to-day operations and logistics run smoothly.
3WO Benedict attributes the effective and efficient execution of his daily tasks to the support of cooperative colleagues and officers. According to 3WO Benedict, “All of these responsibilities highlight the importance of maintaining a strong partnership with the officers and WOSpecs as we work towards a common goal in shaping the battalion.”
He reiterated the importance of building and maintaining a strong partnership with his colleagues – both trainers and trainees alike – and how it has helped him execute his tasks promptly. “It also never hurts to establish a good working relationship with your peers, superiors and subordinates. It’s a team effort and you need everyone to do their part to make it work.“
“Achieving mission success and also taking care of my soldiers are part of what we do here in the Singapore Army. At times, we have faced servicemen from all walks of life, each with his/her own unique set of challenges,” 3WO Benedict replies when asked about the challenges he faces in his line of work.
“However, I am glad to have my superiors, peers and subordinates to seek advice from, in order to improve my man-management skills. I'm given a task and I try my best to do what I can, to take care of the people whose lives I have a responsibility for.”
“To me, I always hope that the servicemen under my charge will have a positive experience in their two years of National Service.”
3WO Benedict also attended the Warrior Leader Course in 2010 - a United States course that trains Army specialists to be qualified section leaders. For three weeks, Benedict underwent a variety of tests such as Land Navigation and Squad Drills.
“I learnt a lot from my experience in the US. Having completed it, I believe I emerged a stronger war fighter, more knowledgeable trainer and a more confident leader.”
When asked how he survived three weeks away from the comforts of home and family, he had this piece of advice: “When attending any course, just remember to be pro-active, make new friends and always have a positive mindset.”
Reflecting on his time spent in the US, 3WO Benedict said that the course gave him the opportunity to make friends with soldiers from other countries: "The friendships that I formed while going through the course are priceless.”
Outside of his work commitments, 3WO Benedict is an avid traveller. “I love travelling and also spending time with my loved ones.”
Given that he has taken part in numerous joint-exercises in places such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, India and Brunei, isn't it challenging for Benedict to find the time or opportunities to pursue personal interests?
“Forward planning. I always refer to my Unit's forecast of events and plan accordingly to find opportunities to travel with the family.”
Looking over the Horizon
3WO Benedict can look back proudly at his career in the Army so far. With many more years ahead of him, he feels it is only the beginning.
“I hope that I can be a role model one day; inspiring people and sharing with them the need to serve and protect what we value the most.
So what advice does he have for those who are thinking of pursuing the same path?
“Always be positive in everything you do, don’t be afraid of taking up challenges.”