CPT Ezekiel is an Air Traffic Controller, who is currently a Staff Officer with the Air Operations Department and an SAF Academic Scholar (Military). He studied Aerospace Engineering at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
As the RSAF forges towards the next generation, it acknowledges the need to prepare for new developments in operational concepts, technologies and people development. Its vision statement, “World Class People, First Class Air Force”, reflects the integrated operations that RSAF undertakes to be a superior force in the air.
Just as the RSAF protects our people, it also grooms those who will undertake this essential duty. CPT Dhana Ezekiel has embraced the mission of defending our people in the RSAF from a young age, and is now proudly installed as a Staff Officer in the Information Systems Branch - C4 Group, Air Operations Department. He details to us his journey to become one of those who help defend Singapore’s skies.
A Dream Takes Flight
When he was eight years old, CPT Ezekiel watched various aircraft perform dizzying aerobatic manoeuvres during the 1996 Asian Aerospace (now known as Singapore Airshow). It was at that very juncture when he found his calling – he was going to join the RSAF.
He joined the Singapore Youth Flying Club as an Aeromodeller, entered the National Cadet Corps (Air) in Secondary School and undertook Mechatronics (Aerospace) during his tertiary education.
Finally, his dream was realised after National Service (NS), when he was accepted into the Air Force. During his time in Officer Cadet School (OCS), he was exposed to the various scholarships the SAF offers.
He explains: “The Singapore Armed Forces Academic Scholarship (Military) sparked my interest as it enabled me to study in an overseas military academy where I would get to train with our foreign military counterparts. The opportunity to get a bachelor’s degree and also build rapport with a foreign military force intrigued me to take on the scholarship.”
Scholarship and Training
Under the scholarship, CPT Ezekiel not only studied Aerospace Engineering in the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), he also had the opportunity to train with the Australian Defence Force (ADF). This overseas training component is unique to the scholarship and prepares recipients for cooperation with other militaries.
“Besides the academic lessons, the curriculum included military training where I engage in drills, physical training and military lectures. During the school breaks, I went on outfields and visits to other bases for exchange and engagements. My four years in ADFA exposed me to many different types of military training as well as allowed me to forge a strong bond with my Australian peers,” CPT Ezekiel tells us. “This rapport was useful in my career, as the SAF conducts many bilateral exercises with the ADF.”
He also gained other more intangible skills. CPT Ezekiel elaborates: “As an officer in the SAF, I now have not only the experiences gained through my training in Singapore with fellow SAF officers, but also the rapport of my fellow overseas course mates from the various services. This has enabled me to work confidently with other officers, not only in the RSAF, but also with the Army and Navy.”
Since returning home, CPT Ezekiel has taken on a series of appointments – from an Air Warfare Officer (AWO) - Air Traffic Controller (ATC) at Tengah Airbase, to his current position as a Staff Officer.
“As a Tower Controller, I have to be alert and always be thinking on your feet. In times of emergency, the Tower crew has to come up with a game plan to recover the emergency aircraft expeditiously, inspect the runway to ensure it is safe for recoveries and coordinate with all the relevant agencies such as emergency services. Being an Air Traffic Controller can be stressful but fulfilling as it is my duty to ensure that our pilots return home safely day in, day out,” CPT Dhana shares.
Currently, he works in a team in reviewing the RSAF’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Information Technology (C4IT) requirements, and examining how these C4IT systems can be refreshed through technological enhancements. Other than that, his responsibilities cover digitisation efforts and leveraging advanced technologies to enable the RSAF to better carry out operations.
And he only has more to look forward to. “My goals for the future are to take up command in the Ops Squadron and lead my men to carry out the duties entrusted to us,” he describes enthusiastically. “I would want to groom potential future commanders and equip my men with the skills required to carry out their duties efficiently and effectively.”
CPT Ezekiel fulfilled his childhood dream of joining the RSAF. He hopes that others will be able to do the same, while remaining honest about the qualities needed to face the challenges ahead.
“You need to have the heart to serve your people and the drive to always strive for the best. In Singapore, and specifically SAF, people are our greatest asset. You should never forget the reason why we serve.
“A career in the SAF is rewarding. Taking up a scholarship in the SAF will definitely help you develop as an individual.”