Organise reunion for pioneer NS officers

Mr Lim Min Zhang's performance during his national service days as an officer cadet was laudable (What a bleeding stomach taught me about national service; Dec 28).

His mental resilience and positive mental attitude made all the difference to his performance. Indeed, he would be a good role model for his fellow officers and all future NSmen alike.

I treasure and reminisce about my years in NS from time to time.

While I did not bleed with a stomach problem during my time, my batch of officer cadets in 1968/69 were all made to follow commands to the letter.

The sergeant-major's big stick (baton) and "barking" by non-commissioned officers and platoon commanders were always lurking around the corner.

Mr Lim wrote that the "spirit of sacrifice and excellence explains the strong camaraderie among the pioneer guardsmen and commandos, now in their 60s, who at their reunion this year sang songs and shouted cheers from the good old days".

It is unfortunate that the pioneer batch of NS officers, who attended the Officer Cadet School in 1968/69 and who are now in their late 60s and early 70s, did not have the luxury of having a formal reunion organised by Safra or the Ministry of Defence.

Such an event would have showed their sincere appreciation and recognition to this deserving pioneer batch of NS officers who served three years - and not two years - of full-time national service.

The one extra year certainly is worthy of note and, yet, to this day, no specific mention has been made in the media to commend this batch of commissioned officers.

They were the "brains and the brawn" and later had to train future NSmen. This was the apparent reason for the extra one year. Later batches served only two years.

As the pioneer batch of officers are soon going into oblivion, it would certainly be timely - and right - for the Director of Manpower or Safra to organise a reunion for them to sing Auld Lang Syne one last time.

All the talk and articles about showing appreciation will ring hollow if the pioneer batch of NS officers are not given their due recognition after more than 50 years.

I hope the authorities will "walk the talk" and, not just "talk the talk".

Tan Teck Huat