Saturday 22 November 2014

Bigger role for Home Team NSmen

More opportunities for them to take on frontline roles in keeping S'pore safe
By Amir Hussain, The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2014

THE Home Team's national servicemen will get to play a bigger role in keeping Singapore safe and secure, as more opportunities will be provided for them to take on frontline roles.

A review is looking at ways to "better integrate NS forces into actual operations" of the police and Singapore Civil Defence Force, said Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday.

Speaking at a ceremony to re-open three HomeTeamNS clubhouses as well as present the Home Team NSman of the Year awards, Mr Teo said both forces are also studying ways to strengthen the link between training of full-time national servicemen (NSFs) and their subsequent deployment during their reservist period. More details will be announced next year, he said.

In his speech to over 600 Home Team NSmen, corporate partners and guests, Mr Teo also announced that each HomeTeamNS member will get to pass on a year's free membership to a family member - a parent, spouse or child - to celebrate the re-opening of the clubhouses.

The three HomeTeamNS clubhouses that were re-opened after revamps to include more amenities, such as childcare services and food and beverage outlets, are located in Balestier, Chinatown and Bukit Batok. Another HomeTeamNS clubhouse in Tampines will be ready by 2016, while its Sembawang clubhouse will be upgraded by the middle of next year, Mr Teo said.

At the ceremony at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok yesterday, Mr Teo also launched a new logo to reflect "a re-invigorated association and a stronger sense of identity for Home Team NSmen", he said. The logo spells out "HomeTeamNS" in orange and blue.

The association was formed after a merger between the former Singapore Civil Defence Association for National Servicemen and the Singapore Police Association for National Servicemen in 2005. It has nearly 190,000 members.

As part of the rebranding, there will also be a new HomeTeamNS-Passion-POSB debit card, which will give NSmen offers at over 1,500 shops.

SIA Engineering senior manager Alvin Low, who serves as the commander of the SCDF's 31 (A) Rescue Battalion, was one of the 10 men who received the NSman of the Year award.

Mr Low, who has completed nine in-camp training cycles, also serves as secretary of the HTNS Sembawang executive committee.

From July to September last year, he was also the deputy commander for Operation Lionheart, SCDF's overseas contingent which helps disaster-hit countries. He played a role in helping the unit retain its classification as a "Heavy Urban and Search Rescue Team" under the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group. The classification exercise is conducted once every five years.

Mr Low said his reservist time has helped him learn about crisis management and leadership.

"It's definitely very challenging to balance work, NS and Home Team commitments... I'm quite fortunate as my wife supports me fully," said Mr Low, who has a six-year-old son.

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