Saturday, May 07, 2005

Men of 46 SAR (1994 - 1996)

When it comes to BMT, most people would be posted to BTS in Nee Soon or Tekong. However, there are those who were “fortunate” enough to be sent to units directly as part of a “mono-intake” scheme.

Armour battalions usually fill their ranks with such intakes. The rationale? To foster camaraderie and unit cohesion since most men would spend their first day of army “career” together and ORD together, and even ROD together. Perhaps some combat engineer units and artillery units adopt such schemes too. Perhaps someone care to comment?

Anyway, back to Armour battalions. In 1994, a batch of A-Levels recruits (guys aged between 18 to 21 from JCs and Pre-U institutions) was drafted into 46 SAR in the infamous Sungei Gedong camp. The subsequent three months of BMT would forever change their lives, their perspectives, and foster great friendships. There are tales that many still cursed about, bragged about, and laughed about whenever they meet over a platoon mate’s weddings, kopi/togo sessions, and of course, ICT.

This same batch of men subsequently earned themselves into the history book of SAF by winning the best NS Armour Unit three (or is it four?) in a roll as 466 SAR. Of course, for those know the inside story, this achievement is somewhat dubious (;p). At this time, the original cohort from the BMT of 1994 is approximately 50% given the usual “attrition” rate from downgrades, overseas postings and studies. But this does not take anything away from this fabulous bunch of men who know when to play hard, and when to fight smart (well, almost everyone, except one particular company :D), and watch each other’s back.

The BMT experiences really cement the unit. It was pure hell during these gruelling three months. Whenever the recruits met up with their counterparts from BTS during the weekends and compared tales and treatment, Nee Soon and Tekong instantly become paradise, or luxury camps in the eyes of the men from Attila, Bronco, Cheetah, and Scorpion. There was simply no comparison in terms of “siong-ness”, level of tekan-ning (physically and psychologically), and intensity of vulgarities.

In the next few posts, incidents during BMT will be described to illustrate the experiences that many men still talk about. Stay tune…

29 comments:

Mr Miyagi said...

In 1989, the 46th Singapore Armoured Reconnaisance Battalion was converted into an Armoured Battle Group, a relatively new concept at the time, and its commanders named the newly formed Combat Teams Attila, Bronco & Cheetah. One of my platoon mates designed the logos, not knowing who Attila was and what he looked like, hence the stupid blind knight with a sword.

Yes, Tekong was paradise. My batch did our BMT at Tekong at the then Infantry Training Depot from Dec 88 - Mar 89.

Trade Course at 46 was possibly the worst time of our NS life.

They were still forming the Armoured Battle Group doctrines and procedures then, and hanging on to Recce Bn theories and practices. So, as you can imagine, there were a lot of cock ups. And a lot of recce missions.

That first batch is or was the 431st Battalion, which, I think has been stood down.

I've been posted to the 433rd, and am enjoying my time there.

roti lim kopi said...

did something terrible happen to Bronco during your batch that leads to the rumour that B Coy is haunted? or is it just a load of BS?

so you guys were the 1st batch of ABG + DRB... kinda fun being a bikey, huh? unless when you go for overseas trainings lah. my ompany bikies were cursing and swearing during Oz and Thai exercises during to the terrain.

Hai~Ren said...

I did my NS in 42 SAR... NNB every weekend travel from Tampines to Lim Chu Kang was no joke...

Mr Miyagi said...

Yes, a Bronco NCO (Corporal) was killed in an M113 accident in Crescendo.

Voice in thy Head said...

hello, guys... well, it's really good to know more people from 46 man... hahah.. i reckon there must be 3 generations here already, including me.. :p btw, i just ord-ed from 46SAR... that damned camp... wahahah.. ORD LOH!!

Gabriel Wu said...

Hey lala, who are you?? I also just ORD'ed from 46... In fact, I just collected my pink IC today... that's why had so much time that I stumbled upon this blog, haha... Chances you are one of the medics, or a sergent from the HQ platoon right?

For the record, I'm the platoon medic of 46 SAR / Bronco Coy / Platoon 5 .

Voice in thy Head said...

oh... cool... yupp, u guessed rite, i'm one of the HQ platoon specs from Attila.. haha.. Naka also ord already... happy la, him...haha..well... good that we're finally outta there...

ketchtheman said...
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ketchtheman said...

Actually, the NCO who lost his life in the Crescendo M113 overturn accident was from Cheetah. The nicest NCO we knew. Proof if ever needed that the good die young. God bless his soul. On the morning after the accident (which happened the night before), we were told to observe a minute's silence in his memory, then continue with the exercise. The CO explained that as soldiers, we must continue with the mission despite our comrade's death. Some men cried. We were heartbroken.

Miyagi was right, too much confusion and I think, a desperation to prove the Mono intake idea a success, so we were bullied, beaten and battered into as good a fighting fit Armoured Battle Group as any the world over.
The trainers were rough and exercises did more harm than good (e.g. star jumps and leap-frogging across the parade square). Not a single man in my section left NS without an injury of some sort.
The discipline bordered on institutionalised abuse.

I met my former CSM in reservist many years later. He was by then a trainer. I told him that after NS, I feared no one. Because I trained under him.

He exclaimed, "That bad meh?" I kept quiet and offered him a drink.

Oh how we suffered.


Pl 8
Cheetah Coy
46SAR
1st Mono Intake.
1989-1991

Anonymous said...

Im getting posted there As a D.Y.S3 Just commissioned :| What will i be expecting?!

Mr Miyagi said...

The rojak in the canteen is very good.

Anonymous said...

oh yes, i do remember the accident in Thailand.. the deceased was a CFC Chua, I think. He was about to ROD. Head crushed. The driver and veh commander both survived but had of course to do through the BOI.

Anonymous said...

Cheetah's CSM was called Rockson I believe. We used to call him son of ROD. Famous for yelling at eighteen year old troopers at the top of his voice, and weaving strange tales abt spiders in a bath tub of water.

I wonder if subsequent batches had the pleasure of his unique "leadership" style

Anonymous said...

We were posted to 46 SAR sometime 1977 way before you guys. We are are pioneers when you guys were not having pubic hair man.

Mr Miyagi said...

I are are impressed!

ketchtheman said...

Yes, Rockson was CSM Loh's name. The crazy Airborne Ranger who ate raw 'shrimp' picked up from drain water... among other delicacies. :)
I believe he was CSM for another batch in '94, but got posted out to do a stint as a trainer after that.

Cpl Chua did not get his head crushed. The sargeants who retrieved his body reported that his neck was almost severed by the armored plating of the M113's cupola. I've always believed he died instantly. God bless his soul.

That night after the accident, one of our men spied CSM Loh placing Col Chuas beret on his bed in silence. Loh was supposed to be the vehicle commander in that vehicle that overturned. We think Loh realised Chua died in his place.

My message to 'anonymous' who got posted to our unit in '77: You may have had pubic hair much earlier than us. Your training was much tougher, and yes, you were pioneers. For that, we respect your generation. But that doesn't give you the right to put others down with your insensitive comment.

The Armour soldiers today weren't even born when we were soldiers. Pubic hair or not, they serve our country too, risking life and limb in rain and shine, day and night - like we did so many years ago.

They do this so that you and I can sleep in peace at night. They suffer so your wife and daughter doesn't get raped and killed by foreign soldiers.

Just like I won't remind them of their lack of pubic hair when we served, I don't think you should.

Anonymous said...

Fellow 46ers - i just chanced on this blog and read the thread about CFC Chua - i was one of the cannon fodder troopers riding in the M113 just behind the one that went down that ravine 20 years and i'll never forget that night (you know what, the anniversary is coming up, if there ever was one....) Chua had his whole life ahead of him, and was looking forward to his ROD.... that was never to be.

Agree with comments here that this mono-intake really got its collective ass kicked and kicked again and had more than its share of broken bones and in a few cases, minds.....

CSM Loh - what a character! Will also always remember the dreary Sg Gedong camp (remember the buildings were painted grey back then?) I recall that the first night there, the mongrels gathered at the centre of the parade square and started howling. i was thinking to myself, this is going to be a looong 2 years....

Anonymous said...

Guys, his name was Rodson with a D not Rockson. We had so much fun with his name.

Anonymous said...

First time we were posted there in '89, there was a very old road leading into the camp. Took 15 to 20minutes to walk in.

An enterprising bus operator provided transport in for 30cts?(If I recall correctly) On book in nights you could see some peng kia hanging out of the door. All looking very sad because it was book-in night.

Anonymous said...

I do not want to have anything to do with that accursed camp called sg gedong ever again. Never have I seen so much abuse,suffering, hatred, ugliness, fear and death all come together at one place.I know personally of at least 3 individuals in my platoon who either went mad or had lost their will to live. And for what? So that the CO then (Maj PHT)and his peons can claim credit and get promoted. (heard he's now a COL)

46 SAR
Attila Coy
Platoon 4
1994 monointake

Anonymous said...

Yah, I remember in that mono-intake. Someone in company throw a live round in rubbish dump. Make a hell of investigation. CSM, SSG Thng, Plt SGH Eugene, PC all Genna.
Some went DB, some genna discharge of duties.

Anonymous said...

this sungei gedong so far, at least can arrange bus shuttle to fetch these poor soliders either to MRT or bus-interchange lah
common sense lah....
even shopping give free shuttle bus to various location
no wonder nobody is willing to serve and proud to be NSF men

Steven Lee said...

Hi, I'm one of 46SAR pioneer (1978-1980, B Coy) and we had been having our annual CNY gathering since ROD - our 33th gathering this year which was last Sunday. If anyone happens to be with us during that period (be it in A/B/C/D Coy), we invite you to join us in our annual meet-up.

joomeng quek said...

Like Steven Lee, I was "with" 46 SAR in July 1978 but instead of going to 46 SAR after BMT, I was posted to SISL (support arms section leaders), then to 46 SAR for armour trooper conversion then School of Armour for Armour Section Leaders onto School of Armour, Recce Wing for Armour Recce NCO before being posted to 46 SAR C Coy (in Ulu Pandan Camp). I was then selected to return to SOA to be an instructor in Recce Wing. But OC refused to release me and another fellow course mate got arrowed to become an instructor. ROD (the original, after 2.5 years) in October 1980.

joomeng quek said...
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Leo Bank said...

Man, I sure remember using 84mm Karl Gustav as a climbing tool and then missing almost every round .. If one don't learn how to keng there, one cannot survive. . Attila Platoon 2, 1989 .

Anonymous said...

Carl Gustav as a climbing tool? That's new to me :-) Yeah, some of us got to train on it during life firing and everybody missed. You know we used to train in Hong Kah which was full of creepy Chinese grave stones and muddy/shitty puddles which was the preferred place for practicing "prone" position. Sometimes the water looked green from the fertilizer. I supposed with Hong Kah a HDB estate now, the troopers can only train in Area D! And maybe Mandai. That's boring.

Anonymous said...

Remember CSM of Bronco Coy, Staff Sergeant Chin Sai Pin?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Chin sai pin. The guy who picks out your public hair and talk about it. Strange character. But does take care of the troops.
I went in 94...so some folks here are my batch.