MINDEF – Republic of Singapore Air Force
Feature | Organisation

Keeping an Eye to the Sky

Republic of Singapore Air Force
Captain (CPT) Rae Tan talks to us about her responsibilities in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), which include being an Aide-de-Camp to the President of Singapore.

Gone are the days where a career in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is deemed a profession in a “men’s world”. CPT Rae Tan demonstrates that women are just as capable of overcoming physical and mental challenges in the military environment.

CPT Rae is a recipient of the SAF Merit Scholarship (Women), a prestigious scholarship that grooms women for a career in the SAF. When asked about why she chose to embark on a career with the military, CPT Rae shares that this interest sparked off during her Junior College years when she was invited to the SAF Merit Scholarship (Women) tea session. She knew she wanted to “walk an uncommon route less travelled by women” and to challenge herself in a unique way. With the scholarship, she studied Business and Economics at Edinburgh University.

CPT Rae is currently serving in the RSAF as a Command, Control and Communications (C3) Officer – Air Traffic Controller. She is responsible for all aircraft departing and returning to RSAF’s airbases, ensuring that all military aircraft and civilian airliners are guided safely to prevent collisions– a role that undoubtedly requires a vigilant mind.

Meeting Highest Standards

As an air traffic controller, CPT Rae excels in making critical decisions under high pressure. The environment can be challenging and demanding at times but she does not work alone. She works with a team to make time-critical decisions as well as to complement one another in their daily tasks. She also constantly upgrades herself through continuous learning and training opportunities offered by the organisation.

CPT Rae’s stint in the RSAF has also been filled with rewarding opportunities. In 2014, CPT Rae was tasked to organise a gala event for her squadron to celebrate their win as the “best control unit”. “It was a big event as we wanted to invite all our pioneers who had charted the way forward in the earlier years and all the National Servicemen as well,” she shares. Being in charge of the gala event was especially meaningful for CPT Rae as she witnessed the camaraderie and esprit de corps of the Air Force across generations.

Last year, she has also been appointed as an Aide-de-Camp to the President of Singapore, an honourary position in which officers attend to the general administration, security and social needs of the President. “I am a few months into my appointment and feel very privileged to be able to carry out my duties at the Istana for State-level events. It has indeed been an honour to serve in this aspect together with my counterparts from the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Navy, the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force,” she shares.

CPT Rae Tan Yiwei 
Recipient of the SAF Merit Scholarship (Women)

Command, Control and Communications (C3) Officer (Air Traffic Controller)

“Humility is important in our daily work – we have to acknowledge that there are new things to be learnt every day from more experienced colleagues.”

Qualities of an SAF Officer

Throughout her experiences in the RSAF, CPT Rae has always been guided by her values. She believes that humility, perseverance and integrity have taken her through her journey and should guide the decisions of all officers.

She imparts, “Humility is important in our daily work – we have to acknowledge that there are new things to be learnt every day from more experienced colleagues. We also have to remind ourselves not to feel discouraged when we make mistakes, but learn with humility and strive to become a better officer daily. Perseverance is also essential to take us through our challenges and continue believing in ourselves. Lastly, all SAF officers should have integrity in order to make decisions that are in the best interests of the team and of the nation.”