These military soldiers play a big role in strengthening the nation’s defence
COL John Nehemiah Samuel, currently seconded to Ministry of Trade and Industry. PHOTOS: MINDEF

Serving in the Singapore Armed Forces has enabled these scholars to harbour a strong sense of duty towards their country


“The military career comes with a good mix of operational roles and stints in headquarters,” shares Colonel (COL) John Nehemiah Samuel, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Pilot by vocation from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

He is grateful for the opportunities that the SAF has given him over the years, including being awarded The SAF Scholarship, which have helped him grow as a person. The many roles he has taken on over his 16 years in the military include being Commanding Officer of 119 Squadron which operates the Heron 1 UAV, as well as Staff Assistant to the Chief of Air Force, before becoming the Head of the SAF’s Force Transformation Office, which is directly responsible for formulating SAF’s long-term plans.

As part of exposure and leadership development, he is currently seconded to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“It is a privilege to work with highly professional and committed public servants in another sector,” says COL Samuel. “This stint adds a different dimension to my learning, helping me to better understand the wider public service, and view Singapore and its place in the world from a different vantage point.”

Working with like-minded individuals inside and outside MINDEF, and witnessing the SAF step forward in many ways such as contact tracing and health surveillance to give strength to the nation in the fight against Covid-19, keeps COL Samuel going in his career. Ultimately, it is this sense of duty and belonging that binds all SAF personnel together, he says, adding that these shared values and tight-knit community of servicemen and women make for a formative and fulfilling career.

“It may sound a bit clichéd, but the shared sense of serving something greater than ourselves is real and that unites us,” he emphasises.

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