Monday, November 16, 2009

From Tadpoles to Frogmen

11 November 2009

I initally wanted to join the SLC students in the sponsored trip to Malaysia. The trip was from 10 Nov - 14 Nov and that meant I had to skip Lin Qiang's Passing out Parade. Without second thoughts, I chose to attend the POP.

Mother, Uncle, Aunt, Shi Hui and I had breakfast before going to the Naval Diving Unit at Sembawang Camp. About 9 months ago, Mother, Uncle and myself sent Lin Qiang to the camp. From then on, the 31st batch of Combat Diver Course trainees (tadpoles) grew and became frogmen.

We took the shuttle bus in and stayed at the hall while waiting for the programme to commence. A photo montage was screened. There was a photo display booth at the back of the hall where eager parents and family members tried hard to spot their frogman.

There was a handful of soldiers that proactively explained to us the activities in the photos as well as the use of diving equipment.

Everyone then gathered at the parade square, awaiting for a good show.

Special guests present included Minister of State for Defence, A/Prof Koo Tsai Kee, Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs members -Michael Palmer (Chairman), Ellen Lee (Vice-Chairperson), Indranee Rajah (who is also Deputy Speaker of Parliament) and Dr Fatimah Lateef.

Amidst a gush of smoke, ran in the frogmen carrying their boats up above their heads. As the emcee narrates the training details, the frogmen performed them to the applause and enthusiasm of family members.

Next, there was an underwater performance. I was wowed by how the frogmen can actually hold their breaths for so long and yet remain calm underwater. Lin Qiang was one of the underwater performer who dived in and swam a distance before donning the breathing equipment underwater.

Later on, after the commander presented the diver badges to the 31st batch of Combat Diver Course graduates, who had already donned their No. 3 uniform, we watched in curiously as they mounted the 10m HMS Terror tower.

There, one by one, the frogmen jumped down, yelling "Hooya!"

Here comes our Mr. Hellweeker, who'll be posted out to Air Force for pilot training, after 9 months in water...

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