Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong moves up to Lieutenant-General, tops SAF promotion list

Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong joined the SAF in 1994 and was awarded the SAF Overseas Scholarship.
Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong joined the SAF in 1994 and was awarded the SAF Overseas Scholarship.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong, 43, who took on his current role in March, is being promoted to the top rank of Lieutenant-General.

He heads the list of personnel moving up in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) this year, which will also see seven colonels promoted to the ranks of Brigadier-General and Rear-Admiral (OneStar).

The promotion list included 461 Officers, 75 Military Experts (ME), and 40 Warrant Officers from Mindef Headquarters, Army, Navy and Air Force, and comprise regulars, operationally ready National Servicemen (NSmen) and Defence Executive Officers (DXOs). A record number of 61 senior NSmen are promoted too.

All promotions will take effect this Sunday (July 1).

At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on Thursday (June 28) evening, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen presented certificates to Maj-Gen Ong, and also personnel promoted to ranks such as Senior Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer, Colonel (Col), Brigadier-General, and Rear-Admiral (RADM) (One-Star).

At the same ceremony, Maj-Gen Ong presented certificates to personnel promoted to the ranks of Master Warrant Officer, ME6, Lieutenant Colonel and Senior Lieutenant Colonel.

Also present at the ceremony were spouses and guests of the promoted personnel as well as senior Mindef officials and SAF officers.


Maj-Gen Ong joined the SAF in 1994 and was awarded the SAF Overseas Scholarship.

He commanded the 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade and headed the SAF's Joint Plans and Transformation Department, among several roles in his military career.

He was appointed army chief in August 2015 as a brigadier-general and then promoted to his current rank as two-star general the following year.

Maj-Gen Ong was also in charge of the National Day Parade in 2015, which left a seat empty in remembrance of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who died that year.

Among the seven colonels promoted include Col Dinesh Vasu Dash, 43 Commander of 2nd People's Defence Force (2 PDF) and Col Gaurav Keerthi, 39, Commander of Air Defence Operations Command.

Col Dinesh led the Island Defence Task Force in the SAF security efforts over the June 12 summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held in Sentosa.

He said the summit was an opportunity for the SAF to "validate and test" some of its responses to terrorism.

Citing how the nature of terrorism has changed globally, he said the security response must always be one that is coordinated.

"We have had a series of operations, most recently at the Trump-Kim summit. We used this opportunity to validate and test some of our responses to terrorism," he told reporters.