It was an airlift of a different sort.
Madam Loh Ngiuk Lan and her family were going to lunch when they discovered that the lift to the second-floor restaurant was not working.
They were dismayed: Madam Loh's 85-year-old mother-in-law uses a wheelchair and would not be able to make it up the stairs.
Luckily, a squadron of soldiers saved the day.
About 40 soldiers from Squadron 706 of the Air Power Generation Command were gathered at Swatow Seafood Restaurant in Toa Payoh that day, on Oct 8, for their squadron anniversary.
Master Sergeant Johan Paramasivan, 30, told The Straits Times that the Loh family had first approached them to ask how to get up to the second floor, but they later found that the lift was not working.
MSG Johan said they heard Madam Loh's mother-in-law say she will wait downstairs while her family ate. "We felt bad that grandma wanted to wait downstairs, so we offered to help," he said.
With two men in front, two by the side and two at the back, they turned the wheelchair into a sedan chair and hoisted the senior citizen up to the second floor.
The group of six included two regular servicemen - MSG Johan and Third Sergeant Sukhdial Singh - and four full-time national servicemen - lance corporals Wong Kai Xiong and Javier Teo, and privates Malcolm Ng and Ko Kai Sheng. They provide ground logistics and medical operations in support of the air force.
After the Loh family had lunch, they called upon the six soldiers to help carry Madam Loh's mother-in-law downstairs.
"They thanked us and insisted on writing to Mindef," said MSG Johan. After some persuasion, the six provided Madam Loh with their names.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen shared the story on Facebook yesterday, with a photo of Madam Loh's letter dated Oct 14.
Said Dr Ng: "Earlier this month, six servicemen from the Republic of Singapore Air Force carried Madam Loh's 85-year-old mother-in-law up the stairs to Swatow Seafood Restaurant when the lift was not working. She later wrote in to commend them."