Best Fleet Unit: A SALUTE TO THE BEST

Family spirit propels crew of RSS Stalwart

Lieutenant-Colonel Aaron Li Jun Hong (second from left) with some of his crew members - (from left) Military Expert 2 Harikumar K. Rama, Military Expert 4 Lee Siak Kong and Military Expert 1 Juliana Ang.
Lieutenant-Colonel Aaron Li Jun Hong (second from left) with some of his crew members - (from left) Military Expert 2 Harikumar K. Rama, Military Expert 4 Lee Siak Kong and Military Expert 1 Juliana Ang.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

After five years on board the frigate RSS Stalwart, Military Expert 4 Lee Siak Kong can say he has two families.

One is his unit of 72 members, whose operational performance won them the Singapore Armed Forces' Best Fleet Unit award this year.

The other is his family at home, without whose "undying support" ME4 Lee said he would not be able to do his job as well.

The 53-year-old coxswain said that one of the hardest things he has had to do has been to lend support to his three children from afar during major examinations. His 13-year-old daughter sat her Primary School Leaving Examination last year, while his 18-year-old son is taking his A levels this year. His older son, 23, is a graduate of Nanyang Technological University.

ME4 Lee said that without family support, it would be hard for anyone, even a competent professional, to focus on doing the job well.

This is the second time that the RSS Stalwart has won the Best Fleet Unit award, the first being in 2010. The frigate was commissioned in 2009 and has weapon capabilities, including missiles and torpedoes, to deal with air, surface and underwater threats.

The unit has participated in overseas exercises such as the Inaugural Exercise Pacific Griffin, a joint exercise by the Republic of Singapore Navy and the United States Navy, last year.

Lieutenant-Colonel Aaron Li Jun Hong, who became the commanding officer of RSS Stalwart this year, said: "I have inherited a strong crew... We didn't set out to win but we did our best."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2018, with the headline 'Family spirit propels crew of RSS Stalwart'. Print Edition | Subscribe