'Absolutely no regrets': 26-year-old woman joins Army, becomes officer despite hating school camps

She leads, she excels and she overcomes.

Fiona Tan | August 30, 2022, 06:00 PM

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Fresh out of university in 2019, a woman in Singapore did the unexpected and joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), a profession that heavily features all of her dislikes combined: the outdoors, camps, and regiment.

Cried during secondary school camp

Rose Koh said, via a Basic Military Training Centre Facebook post on Aug. 29, that her decision to pursue a career with the SAF surprised her both friends and family.

Their surprise was probably due to her immense aversion for the outdoors, camps and regiment.

In fact, outdoor camps were such an ordeal for her that she could not stop crying during one of her secondary school outdoor camps.

Her mother had to be activated eventually and she brought the tearful Koh home.

Sought a challenging career outside of her comfort zone

Like many young individuals on the cusp of adulthood and about to step into the workforce, Koh started to think about her future career prospects when she was in her final year of university.

At that time, many of Koh's male friends were also still doing their National Service (NS).

Both intrigued by their experiences and wanting a career which challenges and pushes her out of her comfort zone, it was then that she decided to pursue a career in the SAF.

Friends and family thought she would not make it

However, Koh's friends and family were not so sure of her decision and thought she would not be able to survive the rigorous army training.

She proved them wrong by not only completing the basic military training (BMT) as a recruit, but also the jungle confidence course (JCC) as part of her officer cadet training in Officer Cadet School.

Image from Basic Military Training Centre/Facebook.

Image from Rose Koh/Facebook.

Jungle confidence course

For those who are unfamiliar, the JCC is a nine-day mission where trainee officers are pushed to their endurance limits whilst navigating Brunei's unforgiving, mountainous jungles.

Koh said she collected several blisters on her feet and had to push herself to keep one foot in front of the other even though each step forward hurt.

However, it was her sixth and seventh night that were the "most memorable" as it poured during both nights, flooding her sleeping area and leaving her drenched and freezing.

As a result of the cold, she woke up every 30 minutes and was unable to get a good night's rest.

Not to mention, Koh went through the whole nine days all whilst subsisting on just two days worth of rations.

"Absolutely no regrets"

Looking back on her past three years in the army, the now 26-year-old Koh said in the Basic Military Training Centre Facebook post that she has "absolutely no regrets joining the army."

Image from Basic Military Training Centre/Facebook.

Image from Rose Koh/Facebook.

Far from her secondary school days, Koh said she is now more resilient than before.

Fast forward to today, she has gone full circle and is back at where she first started her army journey in Raven Company.

She is its officer commanding and now leads her own batch of fresh faced BMT recruits.

Image from Basic Military Training Centre/Facebook.

Image from Basic Military Training Centre/Facebook.

Image from Basic Military Training Centre/Facebook.

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Top image by Rose Koh and Basic Military Training Centre from Facebook