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Engineering smooth operations

Working behind-the-scenes to ensure that there is sufficient and well-maintained equipment is a responsibility that ME6 Luke Goh Zhenyu takes in his stride.

As the Commanding Officer (CO) of the 3rd Army Maintenance Base (3AMB), which provides maintenance services for wheeled vehicles and combat engineer equipment, he is responsible for the provision of equipment for training and operational needs.

Says ME6 Goh: “I enjoyed the leadership opportunities and the camaraderie during my time in Officer Cadet School and was also keen to contribute to the defence of the nation in the area of engineering. The SAF Engineering Scholarship provided a unique opportunity to match both of my interests and to also be a leader and an engineer.”

The scholarship offered him the opportunity to study at an overseas university and he chose to go to Cornell University for its recognised engineering programme.

There, one of his projects was designing and programming a sumo- robot to wrestle with another without being controlled by humans. Projects like these allowed him to apply his engineering knowledge in a realistic environment which would prove to be useful in his career.

The scholarship provided ME6 Goh with various opportunities to hone his leadership skills while he was still in university.

He spent two summer holidays working as a project officer in different maintenance units where he learned how a maintenance unit is run by assisting the platoon commander in his daily task.

The role also helped him understand the challenges that technicians face on the ground.

“To me, being a leader means inspiring others to accomplish a mission. It also means developing the people I lead to achieve their potential,” he says.

Taking command

ME6 Goh graduated from Cornell University in 2007 with a Master of Engineering (Mechanical). His first appointment in the SAF was to serve as a platoon commander of a Float Bridge Maintenance Platoon and he moved on to take further command positions as a depot commander and his current role as a commanding officer.

When he was a depot commander in 2012 and 2013, one of his army engineers discovered a manufacturing defect in one of the equipment during a routine maintenance, which affected the whole fleet.

Working together with his crew, they managed to make changes with the contractor to improve the equipment design, potentially averting a safety incident that would have had a wide impact.

In his current appointment as a CO, his day usually starts with physical training in the morning as he believes that fitness is an integral part of being a soldier. Afterwards, he holds meetings with his command team, obtaining management updates and holding discussions on the running of the unit to gain greater clarity of the current situation so that they can plan ahead.

He meets with commanders and soldiers to receive feedback and find out what is happening on the ground and also goes to the field when exercises are being held. This helps him to gain a clearer perspective of the challenges they face and how they can overcome them together as a battalion.

Next year, he looks forward to leading a team of over 100 as the Forward Support Group Commander for Exercise Wallaby, an annual drill conducted by the SAF overseas at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Australia.

Says ME6 Goh: “Our mission is to provide logistics support for the conduct of the exercise. This includes the projection of personnel and shipment of equipment into the training area as well as the provision of logistics services such as transportation, accommodation, maintenance, medical and ammunition support.”

He was also the first army engineer to be sent for a course at the US Army Command and General Staff College in 2015, an opportunity that he greatly cherished. Reflecting on his career thus far, ME6 Goh shares: “The scholarship provides a unique opportunity for one to be both a leader and an engineer. You also get to contribute to Singapore in a meaningful way.”