Growing up, Major (MAJ) Soh Guo Zhong often listened to his father, a former Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Officer, share stories about his time in the SAF. Since then, he knew that a fulfilling and meaningful career would be in store for him when the time is right.
“It is the utmost honour to defend one’s country,” says MAJ Soh. “I signed on with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) because I was drawn by the family spirit.”
Developing the right skills
After MAJ Soh was awarded the SAF Merit Scholarship, he pursued his Masters in Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. It was where he developed a deeper understanding of international affairs that has proven to be useful in the course of his duties.
As Naval Officer, MAJ Soh handles a wide range of responsibilities. The diverse roles prepared him well for his current role as Executive Officer of a Landing Ship Tank, RSS Persistence.
“The journey as Naval Officer is a long but fulfilling one. As a junior officer, my first duties were to take charge of ships in harbour to ensure their safety and security,” he explains. “Thereafter, I was trained to drive the ship as Officer of the Watch.”
“Later, as Principal Warfare Officer, I developed the knowledge and skills to leverage technologies and capabilities on board my ship to combat surface, air and sub-surface threats,” he adds.
Across international waters
MAJ Soh also had the opportunity to learn from navies from other countries during various exercises.
“I had the privilege to take part in professional military foreign exchanges and make friends in navies across the Asean region. I also participated in multilateral exercises such as those conducted within the Five Power Defence Arrangement, which contributes to keeping our defence ties warm with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,” he says.
For MAJ Soh, his experiences in both university and the RSN have shaped his leadership approach.
“Good leadership is really about having a clear vision, as well as the ability to communicate and influence those you lead to work towards that vision. Touch the hearts of those you lead and they will want to achieve the goals you have set out, because they know it is the right thing to do.”