Seeking an unconventional career where he could apply his passion in science and engineering, it was no doubt that Military Expert 5 (ME5) Lloyd Chua would be attracted to the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), an organisation which offered him a myriad of opportunities in the field of science and engineering. More importantly, joining the RSN allowed him to contribute to something bigger – the defence of our nation. He currently serves as a Staff Officer in the Joint Logistics Department.
Engineering can be applied to a multitude of industries. So, why did you decide to join the Republic of Singapore Navy?
Joining the RSN gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion for science and engineering in a unique environment, as well as work with advanced platforms and systems.
As compared to a civilian engineer, being a military engineer requires you to develop important leadership skill sets that are unique to our operating context. As a military engineer, you may be required to lead men and women out in the field at the front lines, or in my case, lead a team of submarine crew in order to complete our missions.
At times, these men and women may need to trust you with their lives. Hence, you’ll need to earn their trust and respect before that crisis hits, and continue to build up this relationship every day. It is this unique aspect of military leadership, combined with engineering, that drew me to a career with the SAF.
Most importantly, joining the RSN allowed me to contribute to something bigger – there is no higher calling than defending our nation.
Tell us more about your roles in the RSN.
After graduation, I returned to the RSN as the Assistant Operations Officer at Force Support Squadron (FSS). I managed the RSN’s supply chain and logistics, which included the procurement, warehousing, and delivery of over 100,000 line items that were used daily. I also had to ensure that the RSN had a responsive and resilient supply chain for fuel, water, food, and munitions – we were almost like the ‘Amazon Prime’ of the RSN.
In 2019, I finished my training and qualifications as a submarine engineering officer. Prior to my current appointment, I served as the Senior Marine Engineer on board RSS Conqueror. I led a team of six submarine engineers and technicians who were responsible for maintaining the systems and operational readiness of our submarine. I was responsible for their training, morale and discipline. Out at sea, they sustained and operated the submarine together with a crew of submariners to ensure that it remained in optimal condition throughout the deployment. Currently, I am a Staff Officer in the Joint Logistics Department.
How is a military engineering profession a rewarding one?
As an engineer, I find it satisfying to be able to solve technical and operational problems. However, the most gratifying aspect of my work actually revolves around people. It starts from training the people under your charge to be technically competent in their work, to grooming them into great leaders and team-players. Seeing the team grow, flourish and achieve something larger together are experiences that represent the highlights of my career thus far.
What is the most memorable moment in your career?
Every submarine Diving Officer remembers the first time they “dive” the submarine. When a submarine dives, air is rapidly replaced with water to quickly bring the submarine below the
water’s surface and to become neutrally buoyant.
As the Senior Marine Engineer, I also serve as the submarine’s Diving Officer. I am responsible for calculating and properly weighting the submarine before I open her flood valves for diving. Any miscalculation will result in the submarine sinking quickly to the bottom of the sea. I do not remember Physics in the classroom ever being practised at such high-stakes or with such an immediacy of consequences.
No amount of training can fully prepare you for that level of the responsibility when you take your first dive as a submarine’s diving officer – in the end, you just have to put your faith in your team and in your training. Nailing my first dive was my proudest, and also the most nerve-racking moment of my career.
What’s your advice to aspiring individuals who wish to embark on a military engineering profession and apply for the SAF Engineering Scholarship?
You should consider taking up the SAF Engineering Scholarship if you want to pursue a dynamic engineering career that offers a diverse spectrum of opportunities to apply your engineering knowledge in highly interdisciplinary environments. The SAF and RSN will be the place to fulfil your passion for engineering, your instinct to lead and your drive to serve the nation.
ME5 LLOYD CHUA
SAF Engineering Scholarship, 2011
Staff Officer, Joint Logistics Department