Red Lions get set to soar again at NDP

Go behind the scenes to find out how the Red Lions prepare for their jumps for National Day.
Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Sim Chee Jin (right) and his Red Lions teammates getting ready at the Pasir Ris Camp for the first National Education Show yesterday. This year will be the first time that 3WO Sim will be making a jump at the National Day
Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Sim Chee Jin (right) and his Red Lions teammates getting ready at the Pasir Ris Camp for the first National Education Show yesterday. This year will be the first time that 3WO Sim will be making a jump at the National Day Parade.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SAF Parachute Team returning to this year's show at Marina Bay platform after two years

When the Red Lions are free falling through the air, getting a bird's-eye view of the scenery is the last thing on their minds.

For them, the main thing is to do their best to get "oohs" and "ahs" from the audience and inspire in them a sense of patriotism.

Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Sim Chee Jin, 39, who will be doing his first National Day Parade (NDP) jump with the Red Lions this year, said: "We don't really have time to do any sightseeing, as we have to take many things into consideration once we jump out of the aircraft. We have to go through drills, consider many 'what-if' scenarios, and think of solutions while we are still in the air."

3WO Sim was speaking to the media during an interview ahead of the first National Education Show yesterday.

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The nine-member Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Parachute Team, also known as the Red Lions, will be making a comeback at this year's NDP - held at the Marina Bay floating platform - after a two-year break.

Last year, the Red Lions could not parachute down the National Stadium due to safety reasons. And during the SG50 celebration at the Padang in 2015, the jump had to be called off because of poor weather.

First Warrant Officer Ng Chin Hun, 44, who is this year's Red Lions team leader, was also the head of the team in 2015.

He said: "I am excited about getting to do a jump because for the past two years, there were no Red Lions at the National Day Parade. Hopefully, this year, we'll have good weather, for us to jump and land perfectly on the platform and make Singaporeans proud."

One key member of the Red Lions team is the cameraman, and this year, the duty falls on Second Warrant Officer (2WO) Melvin Ho, 44. This year will be the seventh time he is joining the Red Lions at the NDP jump.

2WO Ho will perform the drills with the rest of the team, but he has the added responsibility of taking photographs and video footage during the jump. These will later be used in promotional material.

2WO Ho wears a helmet that weighs about 3kg, which is mounted with a DSLR camera and camcorder. To capture images, he bites on a mouthpiece and uses his tongue to trigger a button.

It is a key role, but one that is often out of the spotlight as he does not form a ring with the rest of the team. His uniform is also different. Instead of the red and blue uniform, the cameraman's flight suit is black.

Said 2WO Ho: "I'm the man behind the show. But it's an important job because without the footage, there's no show."

WATCH THE VIDEO

Red Lions cameraman Melvin Ho takes photos in midair by biting, not clicking.

http://str.sg/4agC

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2017, with the headline 'Red Lions get set to soar again at NDP'. Print Edition | Subscribe