SINGAPORE - Odd, unpredictable working hours and extended overseas stints are among the realities that Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) regulars and their families have to get used to.
Some of the 647 service personnel who were promoted by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) on Friday (June 26) paid tribute to their families for being a pillar of support through challenging times.
These include solving aircraft defects, mobilising resources for the fight against Covid-19 and taking late-night calls to ensure soldiers could train safely amid the pandemic.
"My family has supported me quietly behind the scenes for many years. No complaints, they know what I'm doing every day when I leave the house in uniform," said Colonel Terry Tan, commander of the army's Combat Service Support Command (CSSCOM) and father of three.
The 47-year-old, who was promoted to Brigadier-General, added that his promotion is a testament to CSSCOM's work.
It has been heavily involved in the nation's efforts to combat Covid-19, including supporting foreign workers and dormitory operators, and setting up of community care facilities.
This year, the promotion ceremony was scaled down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
While those promoted to the ranks of Colonel and above received their certificates from Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong at Mindef's headquarters in Bukit Gombak, others received their promotions at decentralised ceremonies held in various SAF camps.
The promoted personnel include regulars and operationally ready national servicemen from the Mindef headquarters, the army, navy and air force.
Separately, a virtual promotion ceremony for 332 defence executive officers (DXOs) and civilians will be held next Tuesday.
Their new ranks will take effect next Wednesday.
Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Feroz, who was promoted to Colonel and took command of the 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade on Friday, echoed Col Tan's sentiments.
"Family support is important to me. I'm thankful for my wife, for helping me in many ways, providing moral support, and for giving me space when I need to work at home, especially when I need to attend to urgent work or phone calls," said the 39-year-old, who has two young children.
For Military Expert 5 (ME5) Ang Lay Fang, commanding officer (CO) of 816 Squadron, her family has provided comfort and support not just in Singapore but also abroad.
ME5 Ang's mother accompanied her to Arizona in 2011, when she was posted to the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Peace Vanguard detachment for more than two years as a senior maintenance officer - the first woman in the role.
"It was a big sacrifice for her, with the rest of our family back in Singapore, and she was even handicapped there as she does not speak English or drive," said ME5 Ang, 41, who was promoted to Military Expert 6 and was crowned the first female head of a Best Air Engineering Squadron this year.
Mindef said the annual promotion exercise is part of efforts to recognise, reward and groom officers, military experts, warrant officers and DXOs who have performed well, and have demonstrated potential to contribute further to the organisation.