Amidst a dynamic security landscape, the RSAF remains focused on acquiring new aerial capabilities and strengthening its international standing. However, the RSAF's best equipment and technology would be of no value without a devoted team of individuals who commit themselves daily to the proper safeguard of our airspace. Meet Pilot MAJ Jimmy Neo, and Air Warfare Officer (Command, Control and Communications) CPT Cheryl Lim – both of whom decided to join the RSAF as they believe in its meaningful cause.
A Passion for Aviation
MAJ Neo and CPT Lim have always been fascinated by the aviation industry. For CPT Lim, her participation in the Singapore Youth Flying Club in Junior College sparked her interest in the field of aviation.
MAJ Neo too, has a passion for aviation. He tells us, "Back then, I had two passions, to fly and to teach. I chanced upon a roadshow by the RSAF and decided to apply. Although I was successful on both applications, I decisively took up the RSAF's offer and have never regretted my choice."
Dynamic Roles, Supportive Culture
Today, both officers are contributing to the defence of Singapore's skies in their respective roles.
As the S3 of 127 Squadron, MAJ Neo is in charge of the daily management of the squadron's resources in relation to aircraft and manpower demands. His job is to ensure that the squadron is well-trained and operationally ready to be deployed when called upon. Being in charge of resource management in his squadron, the challenge for MAJ Neo lies in his dynamic job scope that requires him to excel in multiple fields. MAJ Neo shares, "Apart from achieving competency in our personal flying abilities, we need to impart flying skills to our junior pilots. We must also be adept at managing finance and manpower to ensure the smooth operation of our squadron."
As for CPT Lim, she is currently an Air Warfare Officer (Command, Control and Communications) in her unit. Her unit oversees the defence of Singapore's airspace and ensures that the integrity of our nation's skies is not compromised.
MAJ Jimmy Neo Xianqin
CPT Lim's job is certainly not an easy one. She faces the challenge of having to make decisions quickly when presented with an array of pressing circumstances. CPT Lim shares, "The best way to cope is to be constantly on my toes. It helps me devise best-fit solutions readily."
In light of these challenges, both MAJ Neo and CPT Lim appreciate the nurturing culture and supportive team structure at the RSAF. MAJ Neo reveals, "You can be very proficient as an individual. But as the saying goes, you are as weak as your weakest link. Therefore, at the RSAF, we work as a team, as a tribe."
Adding to his sentiment, CPT Lim says, "The RSAF's culture emphasises precision, accuracy and teamwork. We support one another and strive to ensure success in every mission. It is this very culture that enables me to overcome obstacles and grow with my fellow officers."
To be a good fit in this formidable team, MAJ Neo and CPT Lim perceive various qualities to be essential. MAJ Neo emphasises that, "Above all, an RSAF officer must be independent, responsible and keen to excel in everything he does."
As for CPT Lim, she believes that resilience and determination will help aspiring officers make the cut in RSAF's fast-paced environment. "As an RSAF Officer, you will face multiple trials in your career. These qualities will help you tide through challenges and emerge stronger," she says.
CPT Cheryl Lim
Air Warfare Officer (Command, Control and Communications)
While the learning curve at the RSAF is a steep one, these challenging experiences have turned into great memories for both MAJ Neo and CPT Lim.
MAJ Neo eagerly tells us of his numerous deployments on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations such as the Singapore Armed Forces HADR efforts to Philippines post Typhoon Haiyan. He was also tasked to conduct counter piracy operations in Operation Blue Sapphire in the Gulf of Aden. "Being a part of these operations made me realise that my work impacts the lives of countless people," says MAJ Neo.
For CPT Lim, she recalls her commissioning parade with great pride, explaining, "It is a pivotal event for all officers. A celebration of camaraderie and teamwork." The parade marked the start of her journey as an officer. She also found this to be an encouraging affirmation of her commitment and hard work.
The Path Less Travelled
When asked if she would encourage more girls to join the RSAF, CPT Lim remarks, "Traditionally, it is a male-dominated field, but girls need not feel intimidated! In the RSAF, we are provided equal opportunities and are equitably appraised by our competency. So join us if you are looking for a dynamic career."
To university graduates exploring a career with the RSAF, MAJ Neo advises, "The RSAF is not your typical eight-to-five desk job. But if personal growth, global opportunities and a meaningful career are what you seek, the RSAF is the right place to be."