First female Red Lion parachutist finally makes her NDP debut

SINGAPORE - The first female Red Lion parachutist, Third warrant officer Shirley Ng high-fived a junior Red Lion after completing her jump during the NDP 2014 at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.

Her maiden National Day Parade jump last year was called off due to cloudy weather.

She made the successful jump together with eight parachutists as the 27,000-strong crowd cheered loudly.


Second chance for first female Red Lion
By Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits Times
Published on Aug 06, 2014

Cloudy skies last year prevented Third Warrant Officer (3WO) Shirley Ng from becoming the first female Red Lion parachutist to jump at the National Day Parade (NDP).

But the tenacious 36-year-old is back and ready to make history at this year's parade on Saturday.

"Of course I'm very, very honoured to be given a second shot," said 3WO Ng, who will be the eighth out of nine Red Lions to make the leap.

"But I already treated last year as my first NDP. We did six great jumps last year, including the rehearsals and preview." A perennial crowd favourite, the Red Lions segment was called off last year due to poor weather.

"My relatives and friends were still waiting. They thought the jump was postponed," recalled 3WO Ng. "It was indeed disappointing, but then again, what's over is over. We're really focusing on this year's NDP."

The army regular joined the Singapore Armed Forces in 1998 as a rigger, tasked with packing parachutes. A year later, she made her first jump from 305m above ground using the first parachute she packed.

This year, the same team has returned to make the 3,050m plunge, along with two new members. Having a bigger team meant that a lot more effort went into getting ready this time.

"Even though these two members have taken part in previous NDPs before, if you have any new people that join your team, you need a lot more rehearsals, more preparations," said 3WO Ng.

But the adrenaline rush more than makes up for the time put in, she said. "When you're coming down to land, you actually can hear the crowd cheering, people shouting your name, the emcee talking about you... it's great."

Asked if she worries that history might repeat itself, she laughed and said firmly: "I never! I don't think about things that are not within our control."

This article was first published on August 6, 2014.
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