US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta (L) congratulating Lt Tan (R)during USNA 2012 Graduation and Commissioning ceremony in Annapolis.
Lieutenant Tan, 24, topped his batch of 1,099 American and foreign cadets. Studying at USNA is very competitive as candidates vying for top honours are cadets handpicked by American and selected foreign navies worldwide.
Lt Tan’s cohort included 14 cadets from 12 countries, including Pakistan, Taiwan and Romania, reported The Straits Times (ST).
“I was surprised because the guys I was training with were Navy Seals and some were even going to be astronauts. To be training with the best and brightest, and still come up tops is pretty amazing,” Lt Tan told ST from his hotel in Annapolis, Maryland in the US.
Former graduates of the academy include US former presidential candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain, former US President Jimmy Carter, and the first American to journey into space Alan Shepard.
Lt Tan graduated from the Officer Cadet School here in 2008 and received the Singapore Armed Forces Merit Scholarship to study in USNA.
He began his training at USNA in 2008. There, he became the first foreign cadet in USNA’s history in charge of administrative duties of the 4,400 cadets, the “size of the Republic of Singapore Navy”, said Lt Tan. One of his tasks as the brigade adjutant was to command the 4,400-strong ceremonial parades.
“I was put in an environment in which I challenged and pushed myself beyond my limits and became stronger physically and mentally,’ said Lt Tan. He also told ST that he hopes to take part in international peace support operations like the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
His mother, a housewife, and his father, who owns a cleaning firm, were present at the full-regalia parade in the academy. He was also awarded a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Systems Engineering.
Lt Tan will be flying back to Singapore tomorrow, and said that he will miss the friends who helped him cope in the US. “We shared jokes, helped each other do laundry or iron our clothes… these were small gestures that mattered a lot and kept us going for so long,” said Lt Tan.
AsiaOne, Thursday, May 31, 2012
- In a meritocratic system, a person’s ability (and willingness to apply it) is the cornerstone that defines his/her influence. You may not be held responsible for where you start out in life, but you are responsible for where you end up.
Congratulation, Lieutenant Sam Tan Wei Shen.