Forging Sabre exercise

Flying start to couple's US stint

Fighter pilot Cedric Goh with his wife Lissa Low and baby Joy. He began his stint at the Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix in January last year.
Fighter pilot Cedric Goh with his wife Lissa Low and baby Joy. He began his stint at the Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix in January last year.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Fighter pilot and his wife succeed in their mission to start a family

While the opportunity to join the F-16 detachment in Phoenix looked appealing as a career-building move, fighter pilot Cedric Goh also took it up for another reason: to start a family with his wife.

Both he and his wife felt that the two-year stint with the Peace Carvin II detachment of F-16s at the Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix would be a good time to have a baby.

Ms Lissa Low, 27, took a break from work as a communications professional with a voluntary welfare organisation in Singapore to join Captain Goh, also 27, who started his stint in January last year.

The mission was a success.

She was pregnant soon after moving to Phoenix in April last year, and gave birth to a baby girl, Joy, in April this year.

"We were optimistic that we could care for the baby on our own," said Ms Low.

But the couple - former secondary school classmates who were married in 2014 - discovered that it was tough to care for a baby without the support of their family networks.

They were speaking to Singapore media yesterday at the office of the 425th Black Widow Fighter Squadron, which the Singapore detachment is part of.

Ms Low said that it has been "quite exhausting" as they do not want to rely on paid help. Also, they found that many of the Singapore families in the detachment - numbering 290 personnel and dependants in total - were also busy caring for their young children or about to start a family of their own.

When asked how his fatherly duties compare with flying advanced aircraft, Capt Goh said: "Taking care of a baby is tougher. She is in control of me whereas I'm in control of the aircraft."

Thankfully, the couple's parents have been visiting them and helping out over the past months. They have also received support from Singapore families and friends whom they met while attending a nearby church. These friends also visited Ms Low when she was in hospital. The Singapore friends even leave food at the young family's door.

Capt Goh said work has been challenging but fulfilling. Besides participating in joint training and missions with the US Air Force, he also takes part in Singapore military exercises like the ongoing Forging Sabre exercise in Phoenix.

Capt Goh, whose stint has been extended to the end of next year, is eager to stretch himself in the exercise by working with a crack team from the Singapore Artillery unit that will "sense" targets with laser-designation technology for fighter jets to drop live munitions with greater accuracy.

 

"I'm serving the country in two ways," he quipped, referring to his job and baby.

As for Ms Low, while she sometimes envies her friends who are progressing in their careers, she believes she has made the right decision to take time off from work.

"I think it's better to focus on one thing now and not be a half-hearted mother or career woman," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2017, with the headline 'Flying start to couple's US stint'. Print Edition | Subscribe