Pulau Tekong 1989
For those of us who served NS, this is a real event which happened in 1989 at P.Tekong Camp 3. I was the conducting officer for a night training excercise. The location was at the Battle Development Course. For those of us familiar, that would be next to camp 3, separated by a forested track of about 50-80m. I still remember the training that night was night movement – teaching recruits how to see in the dark by not focussing directly on an object etc.
The training ended at about 9+ I think. I decided to bring some of the better recruits from Hawk company for a nite walk. I dispatched an NCO to bring the company back to company lines and selected about 8 guys to stay behind. I brought them into the forested track of land and told them to move quietly in a single file. It was a very bright night, with splashes of moonlight coming through the leaves – very beautiful. not to forget the dim light of the luminous fungus that also comes alive in the forest.
It was about a 15 min walk and I went through it without any incident…when I emerged, the guy after me had a shocked look on his face. He asked, “sir, did you see those men?” “What men?” I replied. He said he saw a group of soldiers, with helmets on, clustered in a circle, just next to our path of movement. I was pretty surprised. The next guy, (Ravi I think) popped out. He heard what we were saying and cut in “I saw them too! They were having some kind of quiet discussion and did not look up at us even though we passed right next to them”. Apparently, they were not in SAF uniform or helmets.
At this point, I was beginning to get rattled. There is no way I could have missed a group of 4-5men by our trail if more than 1 recruit could see them! 2 more guys after that said the same thing, but the rest did not notice anything. I told the guys to fall in and we marched briskly back to camp.
Next day, I asked Sergent Chris if there were any other night training taking place after we ended ours. Negative. I then asked him, “hey, I brought a guys through the jungle yesterday and guess what they said they saw?”. He smiled and said, “don’t tell me – soldiers right?” This guy was a regularly and had been in tekong for a few years. I asked him why I did not see anything? He said, “sir, you wearing your beret right? they say the crest is blessed, so that helps”.