The opportunity to be part of the National Day Parade's mobile column comes around only once every five years, but that was not why Lance Corporal Nabeel Majdi decided to push back his operationally ready date (ORD) by a week, from Aug 9 to Aug 16.
The parade also serves as a bittersweet farewell to Singapore for the transport operator from 1st Transport Battalion as he will be leaving for New York when he completes his national service, to work in his aunt's business as a technician.
"I don't know when or whether I'll be back (in Singapore) actually. My original ORD happened to be on National Day, so I thought, why not extend it by seven days so that I can take part in the mobile column," he said.
LCP Nabeel, 22, is driving the High Mobility Cargo Transporter that carries the Singapore Navy's Harpoon surface-to-surface anti-ship missile.
For Second Lieutenant Darius Tan, being part of the mobile column was not initially part of his plans.
The 21-year-old was looking forward to closing the chapter on his NS days and resuming studies at the Singapore Management University, where he will be reading business.
But the Leopard 2 tank commander changed his mind after finding out that this year is the 50th anniversary of the first mobile column in 1969. He extended his service from his original ORD on Aug 1 to Aug 12.
"I had my mind set on university but, at that time, I didn't know the significance of this year's mobile column," said 2LT Tan, whose university orientation camp starts on the same day as his ORD.
"Training for the parade is honestly quite tiring, but I think it's worth it as we get to do this only once every five years at the Padang."