Serving the country by flying, and having a baby

Fighter pilot Cedric Goh and his wife Lissa Low with their 8-month-old daughter.
Fighter pilot Cedric Goh and his wife Lissa Low with their 8-month-old daughter. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

PHOENIX - 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, 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, delivering Joy, a baby girl, 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 it was tough to care for a baby without the support of their family networks.

They spoke to Singapore media on Thursday (Dec 7) at the office of the 425th Black Widow Fighter Squadron, which the Singapore detachment is part of.

Ms Low said 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 dependents in total - were also busy caring for their young children or about to start their own.

When asked how fatherly duties compare with flying an advance 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, their parents have been visiting and helping them over the past months. They also received help from Singapore families and friends they made attending a nearby church, who 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, there are also Singapore military exercises like the ongoing Forging Sabre exercise held in Phoenix.

Captain Cedric Goh prepares his attire before his night flight at Luke Air Base, Arizona. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

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 at with greater accuracy.

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

Captain Cedric Goh does a pre-flight system check before his night flight at Luke Air Base, Arizona. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

While Ms Low sometimes envies her friends who are progressing in their careers, she believes that she has made the right decision.

"I think it's better for me to focus on one thing now and be a full-time mother," she added.