This 61-year-old granny's whipping recruits into shape in NS

She braves the forested terrain with a 20kg field pack on her shoulders, dives into dirt and weathers the elements alongside recruits a third her age.

You read that right.

1st Warrant Officer (1WO) Margaret Leon is a 61-year-old grandmother and she easily puts all of us couch potatoes to shame. She's even got the gold awards from her past Individual Physical Proficiency Test to prove it.

To say this granny isn't your average nanny truly is a vast understatement.

She joined the army as a clerk back in 1976 and found her calling some 10 years later as a combat trainer, then a combatant, reported Pioneer.

During her time, she served as an Officer Cadet School instructor, Signal specialist and a Company Sergeant in the 8th Singapore Armoured Brigade before she spent most of her career as an instructor in Signal Institute (SI).

On top of that, she also spent three months in East Timor on a humanitarian mission as part of the 1st Signal Battalion.

After toiling for nearly 30 years, 1WO Leon was ready to retire. However, her Commanding Officer asked her to stay, so she agreed to a two-year contract. Two years then became five, until in 2018, she decided to end her service in Signals.

Now, she can be seen running alongside her recruits as a Platoon Commander in the Basic Military Training Centre's School, yelling: 'Ancient lady can do, young boys cannot do?'

PHOTO: Pioneer

While the above description might make her seem like a tough cookie, 1WO Leon has her soft side too.

Her recruits fondly remember her as a "mother goose", attested Lieutenant Colonel William Ong.

As an instructor in the SI, she would regularly write to the boys through a journal they kept for weekly reflections, a practice she still keeps to date. Journals may be considered outdated to some people, so 1WO Leon keeps her door open should recruits need someone to talk to. In fact, she makes it a point to only head to bed after the recruits' lights-out at 11pm.

She recounted how she once advised a recruit to take his mother to a weekend brunch to help bridge the gap between them.

"He wrote back: 'Thank you, Ma'am. I am now having this weekly conversation with my mum.' I was so happy (to see that); I do that for all my boys in our journaling," she shared.

She found love in the army in 1986. Here she stands alongside her husband, son, daughter-in-law and grandson. PHOTO: Pioneer

As of now, it seems like the old lionleonheart doesn't have any plans of retiring any time soon.

She says: "This is what I'm proudest of in my career: that until today, people recognise that I'm fit to be in the Army."

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