Navy returns to VivoCity
Once again, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is bringing a slice of the sun, sea and sailing life to the public at the VivoCity Promenade! This time, it’s the Endurance-class Landing Ship Tank (LST) RSS Persistence which has been docked there and will remain so from 29 May to 1 Jun.
In an opening ceremony on 29 May, Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Ng Chee Peng rang the ceremonial ship bell four times to signify the launch of the event. He then toured the ship and interacted with several secondary school students. These students were part of the schools invited to visit the ship on the first day of the event.
Nur Shahirah, a Sec 3 student from Dunman Secondary School, felt that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience as touring the ship was not something she got to do every day.
Gushed the 15-year-old: “When you enter, there’s a conference room, sofa and kitchen. It looks almost like a home, but it’s in a ship. It’s so cool!”
The RSN had decided to bring back the LST as it allowed more visitors on board at any one time given its large size. The first ship that the RSN brought to VivoCity was the Formidable-class frigate RSS Intrepid, while the previous ship was another LST – RSS Endurance.
Organising Secretriat for [email protected] Military Expert (ME) 4-3 Wilson Tan told cyberpioneer that preparations started last December. And based on the feedback gathered at [email protected] in November last year, there was no doubt that the bringing the ships to the city was a hit with the crowds.
“The public likes us here and this is an opportunity for them to learn more about the RSN, what we do and our capabilities. It’s bringing a part of our Navy culture to the public, to let them experience what it’s like in the Navy,” said ME4-3 Tan.
First-time visitor Jasline Wong took the day off to bring her son Kenneth to visit the ship as the nine-year-old was a huge military fan. While it was her pioneer visit to [email protected], the mother-of-two was no stranger to naval vessels as she had been to the Navy Open House twice.
“[email protected] is good for the young ones as they will learn how the ship actually operates. This will give them a better idea of how military life would be like once they hit 18 and go into National Service,” said Ms Wong.
As for young Kenneth, he was simply awed by the guns and machinery. When asked if he would return to the visit once more, the chirpy boy gave a firm “Yes!”
Apart from the tour, the crowd can also view static displays from the three Services on the flight deck of RSS Persistence. The Super Puma helicopter from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the Light Strike Vehicle Mark II from the Army were just some of the assets on display. Some lucky visitors will also get to go on thrilling rides on the Fast Craft Utility (FCU) around the Harbourfront waters.
For ME3-2 Chris Lim, it was an honour helping out at [email protected] as she felt that this would allow more people to know more about the Navy. The Section Head Resource Material Systems from Naval Logistics Command was part of the FCU crew who managed the public and helped guests don their life jackets.
“[email protected] is a great opportunity to engage the public as our Open Houses are usually held very far away from the city. By bringing Navy to the city, I’m also hoping that more people will be enticed to join the Navy!” laughed the 43-year-old.
Similarly, Lance Corporal (LCP) Iqmal Faiz felt that [email protected] was a meaningful event as it “broadened the mindset of the general public” to what the Navy does in general.
The weapon specialist from LST RSS Resolution was in charge of briefing the public on the CIS 50 machine gun. As it was his first time briefing the public, he got off to a rather nerve-wracking start. However, the 22-year-old eventually got the hang of it.
“To prepare for this role, I had to refer to all my notes about the weapon, speak to people who had previously done the briefings before and even think of the questions which the public would ask!” said LCP Iqmal.
“But it got ok after a while… I think I took like 1,000 pictures with the public in total today!”
As part of the event, there is also a shore exhibition located at Level 1 of VivoCity, where equipment used by the elite Naval Diving Unit is on display. Visitors will get to take pictures with naval divers and try their hand at missile simulators.