ME4 Goh does engineering and technology master-planning as a Staff Officer at HQ Maintenance and Engineering Support formation. He is an SAF Engineering Scholar, and he holds a Bachelor of Engineering (First Class Honours) in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London and a Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering from Columbia University.
Over the years, the Singapore Army has embraced technological improvements and upgraded our defence arsenal, ranging from the SAR21 rifle to behemoths on the battlefield, such as the Leopard 2SG main battle tank.
Keeping the Army’s equipment in tip-top shape throughout its operational life are soldiers such as Military Expert 4 (ME4) Justin Goh from the Maintenance and Engineering Support (MES) formation.
ME4 Goh is currently a Plans Officer in the Maintenance Development Section of the Systems Development Branch at the Headquarters MES. He took up an SAF Engineering Scholarship in 2016 and graduated from Imperial College London with a Bachelor of Engineering (First Class Honours) in Mechanical Engineering in year 2019 and a Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering from Columbia University in year 2020.
An Analytical Mind
It was unsurprising that ME4 Goh decided to go into an engineering-centric career. Since childhood, he always had an inquisitive mind, dismantling things to see how they work and develop solutions to solve problems.
“Retrospectively, I had always demonstrated an engineer’s intuition when faced with tasks, challenges and opportunities. Oftentimes, I subconsciously framed my approach to a challenge in the same systematic and reasoned way that is commonly associated with engineers,” recalled ME4 Goh.
Like most of his peers, after completing his GCE-A Levels, ME4 Goh spent most of his time gaming before his enlistment. It was not until his mother persuaded him to give scholarships a shot when he finally made an application to the Singapore Army. After Basic Military Training, he went on to Officer Cadet School and eventually commissioned and was posted to 3 Army Maintenance Base as a Platoon Commander. It was there that his attention-to-detail and analytical thought process caught the eye of his MES colleagues and superiors, which ultimately led to him being awarded the SAF Engineering Scholarship.
In for the Long Haul
In his current role, ME4 Goh uses his knowledge from university and his innovative mind to help MES and the Singapore Army with their engineering-related long-term planning.
“My role is to be forward-looking so that MES and the Army will be poised to take advantage of pervasive shifts in technology and the engineering industry over the next 5 to 20 years,” he summarised.
“Specifically, my work now revolves around two fields. First, I help to conceptualise the future of maintenance and engineering in the Army. This includes studying emerging technologies such as Machine Learning and Advanced Manufacturing, and seeing how we can incorporate them to derive new operational capabilities for the Army.”
His work also goes beyond just handling equipment and machines.
“I also propose HR policies to systemise the deepening of engineering expertise throughout an Army Engineer’s career, such as providing opportunities to learn new skills and tools like Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to enable 3D printing,” explained ME4 Goh.
Why join the Army as an engineer? It’s a fast-paced, exciting and technically challenging career, says ME4 Goh.
“I was looking for a career that was diverse yet offered chances to specialise. Seeing that MES provided me opportunities to take on both technical and leadership appointments persuaded me to take the leap of faith and sign on,” he reminisced.
ME4 Goh believes that the MES life is for those who enjoy innovation and having the autonomy to pursue one’s ideas and bring them to fruition. There are also many opportunities for professional and personal development through mentorship and on-the-job experiences.
“My superiors show me a great amount of respect and trust, and gave me a safe space to grow and mature,” said ME4 Goh.
He added: “My colleagues and I are charged with ensuring that our equipment, from the smallest radio to the large artillery guns, remain serviceable and ready for action when required.
“We are the people working in the background, but without us, the Army cannot bring its sophisticated equipment to bear. That is why the Army continues to invest in Engineers. It is a sacred mission, and one that resonates deeply with me.”