I didn’t want to do my most recent reservist training because I knew there was work to be done in my civilian life. My CO (or one of his proxies) rejected my application.
I went back and wasted 3 weeks of my life.
I wasted it not because I was back doing my NS but because the training wasn’t meaningful. And for this, I blame the ‘leaders’ of my unit.
I feel people don’t get the difference between ‘important’, ‘more important’ and ‘not important’.
Let me explain:
1. The work commitments in my civilian life is more important to me than my reservist training. Does that mean my reservist training is not important? NO! Reservist training is important, work commitments in civilian life is more important.
However, from the first day of reservist, the CO of my reservist unit and dare I say, the officers and sergeants of my company gave everyone the impression civilian life is important and reservist training isn’t. But since we have to do it, then let’s just do a good wayang show and fuck off.
That, my friend, is the wrong mentality. Since we are in it, since we have to do it, then we should do it well. No compromise. No wayang.
This sense of importance, to me, wasn’t conveyed by the ‘leaders’ of my unit.
There were a myriad of reasons why my unit failed our ATEC 2. While the men of the unit cannot be absolved of blame, I personally believe that the tone was not set properly by the commanders of the unit, and the rot started at the top.
I’ll elaborate more in the subsequent posts about the last 3 weeks of my life however I would like to end with one last thought about the leadership in SAF.
During my active days, I was privileged to be under two amazing OCs, each special in their own way. I was also able to serve under a very good CO whose career success in the military is no surprise to me. I was also led in the field by a very decisive, field-craft excellent PC.
Looking at the disaster which was my unit’s ATEC 2, I have come to appreciate even more the importance of good, if not great, leaders.
Let me tell you a little secret. Despite our protestations, most of us (I’m speaking for my company) who are back in reservist, have the capacity and will do a good job for a leader with credibility, for a leader who demands much from us and , importantly, more from himself.
You (i.e. the leader) can fuck us for indiscipline. You can fuck us when we get our drills wrong. You can fuck us when we neglect TSR (i.e. training safety regulations). You can push us to walk, under the scorching sun, from 7am to 6pm with no food, only two bottles of water and a mother-load of heavy equipment.
You can do all that. IF …
If you yourself take things seriously. If your field-craft in topography and navigation is top-notch. If you yourself is clear about the objective. If when you tell me that this is the objective, THIS IS THE OBJECTIVE. If the time to take an entrenched position, is T hours, you get me there by T hours. If you make decisions decisively but with due consideration to the fact that you would make the same decision if we were actually at war (i.e. there are real bullets).
During the airing of my grievances, someone asked me if I could do better.
No, I can’t. I have not undergone the same training in OCS or SISPEC as the commanders of my unit.
But I have served under great leaders during my active days, and if the state keeps demanding my time for reservist training, then stop fucking me by making me continue to serve under incompetent leaders.
One final example:
During a parade, RSM came around and fucked the men for dirty boots. Fair enough. But he didn’t impose the same standards on officers who had dirty boots as well. The officers didn’t impose the same standards on themselves.
One final note:
I have mixed feelings about my unit failing ATEC 2. While it means we probably have to go back next year and do the same thing probably under the same incompetent leadership, it does fill me with confidence that those units which have got good results for their ATEC 2 really do deserve those results and that Singapore, while not being well served by my unit, is at least being well served by others.
For example, the umpire that was with my vehicle is precisely the kind of commander I had the honor of serving with during my active days.