SAF gets first female Chief Warrant Officer

Senior Warrant Officer Jennifer Tan, currently Commanding Officer of the Armour Combat Training Centre, with sons Master Sergeant Jason (left) and MSG Jeffrey Ong. She was among over 500 personnel from Mindef and the SAF to be promoted this year. The
Senior Warrant Officer Jennifer Tan, currently Commanding Officer of the Armour Combat Training Centre, with sons Master Sergeant Jason (left) and MSG Jeffrey Ong. She was among over 500 personnel from Mindef and the SAF to be promoted this year. The twins will be promoted to Third Warrant Officer.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

From nine years old, Senior Warrant Officer (SWO) Jennifer Tan would often accompany her late father, First Warrant Officer (Ret) Tan Hock Hai, to his workplace at the Tanglin Detention Barrack.

The trips gave her first-hand experience of what a military career involved and influenced her decision to join the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1984 at the age of 18.

She became an administrative supervisor and applied for the woman combat scheme in 1988, two years after the army recruited its first female combatants.

Over the years in the Armour formation, she rose through the ranks and is now set to become the SAF's first female Chief Warrant Officer.

She was among over 500 personnel from the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and the SAF to be promoted this year. Some received their certificates from Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Chief of Defence Force, Major-General Melvyn Ong, at a ceremony yesterday. Maj-Gen Ong, too, will be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General.

The group included 461 Officers, 75 Military Experts (ME) and 40 Warrant Officers from Mindef Headquarters, Army, Navy and Air Force, and comprises regulars, operationally ready National Servicemen (NSmen) and DXOs. A record number of 61 senior NSmen are also being promoted. All promotions will take effect from Sunday (July 1).

SWO Tan, 52, is currently Commanding Officer of the Armour Combat Training Centre and sharing her joy were her sons, Master Sergeants (MSG) Jeffrey Ong and Jason Ong, 28.

The twins, who will be promoted to Third Warrant Officer, said they were influenced by their mother and late grandfather to join the military.

MSG Jeffrey said: "Since we were young, we have been to Sungei Gedong camp on Family Day and seen the tanks and armour vehicles, so we were exposed to these things and that inspired us to sign on."

Among the NSmen promoted was Major (NS) Norhisham Main, Head of Medical Operations Cell, HQ 9 Discom and currently a director of service for supportive care and palliative medicine at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

He told The Straits Times about how teamwork helped to contribute to his service as an NSman. "Employers play a big role and in the healthcare industry especially, someone has to manage the patients when I am away and my colleagues step up to help," he said.

"They all do their part during the two weeks that I am away for in-camp training."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2018, with the headline 'SAF gets first female Chief Warrant Officer'. Print Edition | Subscribe