Former nurse among 1,139 SAF specialist cadet, military expert graduates

Military Expert Trainee (ME1T) Isswariya Nethagi (right) with her mother.
Military Expert Trainee (ME1T) Isswariya Nethagi (right) with her mother.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - A nurse for five years, Military Expert Trainee (ME1T) Isswariya Nethagi decided a career switch was needed and put pen to paper last year.

She became the only female trainee in her platoon, and for someone who claimed to be non-athletic, clinched a Gold for her individual physical proficiency test (IPPT).

"As the only female in the whole course and platoon, I was proud of myself for being able to do everything that everyone who was much younger did," she said.

This week, the 30-year-old will be one of 1,139 specialist cadets and military experts graduating at the 48th Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade. The ceremony will be held between Wednesday (Aug 11) and Aug 19 in decentralised smaller indoor parades due to Covid-19 restrictions.

ME1T Isswariya told The Straits Times that she left her career as a nurse to sign on to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) as a medical expert, despite concerns from her family and friends.

"There was always something unfulfilled, so that was when I decided to sign on in the army. I learnt this is my destiny. This is where I can unleash my potential," said the Institute of Technical Education graduate, who joined SAF in March 2020.

The former nurse, who had specialised in rehabilitation and endoscopy at Singapore General Hospital, now utilises her experience by sharing her knowledge with her coursemates after lessons.

Training was tough, she said.

"For medics, during our route march, we had to carry a medic bag with a stretcher inside and also other gear like helmets and a load bearing system, and the route wasn't easy. There were a lot of steep slopes and we had to tackle scenarios where we had to save casualties," she added.

The ceremony will also see Specialist Cadet (SCT) Muhammad Syukri Sutresno, 21, receive the coveted Golden Bayonet award, which is given only to top trainees from the course.

Specialist Cadet Muhammad Syukri Sutresno is a recipient of the Golden Bayonet. PHOTO: MINDEF

SCT Muhammad Syukri had lost 45kg during training, after enlisting for national service in October last year, when he weighed 120kg.

With plans to sign on to the SAF, he said that he aims to be a good example for the people around him.

"One of my targets is to be a passionate leader who can bring out the best in my soldiers around me, and to do that, I must be a good role model to my men and everyone I am working with," added SCT Muhammad Syukri.