Commander didn't expect his letter to go viral

Commander didn't expect his letter to go viral
PHOTO: Courtesy of Darren Tan

He wanted to write a note to thank his battalion, but he never thought that the letter on Facebook would receive so much attention on social media.

The commanding officer of the 823 Singapore Infantry Regiment battalion, LTC (NS) Darren Tan, 44, tells The New Paper on Sunday: "I am blessed with a group that is so bonded that I can call them family."

Netizens were agog when they read about how commanders and men asked for medical upgrades to participate in outfield exercises, men with expectant wives or newborns going for in-camp training (ICT).

In his letter, LTC (NS) Tan said: "In my 26 years wearing the uniform, I've not experienced a battalion like 823 SIR.

"When we first came together seven years ago, crafting our mission statement, we put in place the foundations of what 823 SIR would become.

"Our mission statement as it stood then and stands now: One family with unwavering passion to excel in the protection of our home. Our emphasis was on 'family'.

"If we would become a family, we would serve because we want to, not because we have to.

"This was the philosophy undergirding my leadership thinking throughout the last seven years.

"We had an idea that if we emphasised relationship and care, we can obtain a greater buy-in than what we could achieve by mere military regimentation.

"We suspected that we will achieve something significant together. You have proven this. Again and again."

The pastor and founder of a training consultancy says: "I never meant for the post to go viral... I was happy because my guys really deserve the credit for their hard work but was a little bit worried because social media can be quite relentless.

"But in the end, I'm glad there were a lot of positive comments."

He hopes that even after the battalion's training cycle ends, his men will "continue serving other units with the same values".

He ended his letter by saying: "You have distinguished yourselves and you can always hold your head up high.

"The story of 823 will be told to your families and generations of soldiers entering NS in the days to come."

This article was first published on November 29, 2015.
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