Being passionate about economics and sociology — two subjects not normally associated with a career in the military — did not stop Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ronald Tong from pursuing a career in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). On the contrary, the 33-year-old graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, says both subjects have given him insights into his current role as Commanding Offi cer of 145 Squadron in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). He explains: “Sociology and economics have a lot of relevance in my career. Through the lens of sociology, I can better appreciate, challenge and improve SAF culture and practices. “Meanwhile, economics provides me with empirical analytical training so I can perform systematic cost-benefi t analysis, which is essential in military decision-making.” LTC Tong adds that The SAF Scholarship has given him exposure to strategic, operational and tactical aspects of the SAF, and empowered him with the ability to infl uence and make changes to the organisation. Such experiences have helped him upgrade his skills to lead and shape the squadron and RSAF
Sharpening the spear
Though few people take on the challenging path of being an SAF scholar, LTC Tong feels that his decision to do so has made all the difference in his life, allowing him to serve his family and nation as an SAF offi cer. “Fighter Group, and in particular 145 Squadron, has been described as the tip of the spear that is the SAF. “My main responsibility is to sharpen this spear — to raise, train and sustain the airmen and women under my charge. “I also ensure that 145 Squadron serves the nation’s peacetime operational responsibilities such as air defence, and is ready when the button is pressed, to achieve a swift and decisive victory,” he says. He also gets deployed overseas for detachments and exercises. For him, a typical work week at the offi ce involves managing his squadron and fl ying to hone his skills. He also spends time with his people to understand their challenges. He strives to create conditions that help each member of his team thrive in the squadron and in the RSAF. He also mitigates the risks of daily operations, achieving a strong safety culture. “I hope to continue contributing to Singapore’s continued success. “I believe strongly in the SAF’s mission, and know that a strong SAF is the bedrock of peace and prosperity for my child and her generation,” he concludes.