Hard work comes with lighter moments

Lieutenant Commander Michael Booth recently took command of a German-built bridging lighter, a vessel used to move equipment and personnel around Singapore’s many bays, creeks and islands.

CAPTIONLieutenant Commander Michael Booth (Staff College Student) operating a Singapore Armed Forces bridging lighter at Selatar Camp. Story by Commander Greg Swinden.

Lieutenant Commander Booth is attending the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) command and staff college, where he operated the M3 self-propelled bridging lighter during a recent visit to Seletar Camp, home of the SAF bridging engineers.

“The M3 as quite easy to operate, with the vessel having the ability to spin on a five-cent piece,” Lieutenant Commander Booth said.

Lieutenant Commander Booth is one of two Australian course members at the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College, located at Jurong in western Singapore.

He and Squadron Leader Ben Gray are undertaking the 10-month course, alongside 100 SAF army, navy and air force officers, as well as course members from Brunei, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

In April this year, Lieutenant Commander Booth had the rare opportunity to visit Beijing and Shanghai, China, during the Singaporean staff college overseas study tour program.

“I have found the staff course both interesting and demanding, with the Singaporeans adopting a ‘work hard, play hard’ business model,” he said.

That said, he and his family have explored Singapore and the surrounding region, and have formed several firm friendships with the Singaporean and international officers attending the course.

The Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College has close ties with the Australian Command and Staff College, with annual study tours to each nation. ADF officers have regularly attended the Singaporean course since the 1990s.

Since 2018, an ADF officer has also been a member of the directing staff at the college with the position rotating among the services every two years.

The staff course is known for its demanding schedule but there are plenty of social functions, sport and overseas study tours to broaden the officers’ horizons.


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