Family members of late NSF plead with army mates to tell the full truth as SAF Commander claims measures were taken to prevent heatstroke

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Family members of the full-time national serviceman (NSF) who passed away on Monday are pleading with the late NSF’s army mates to tell the “full truth” during investigations.

Private Dave Lee Han Xuan, was conveyed to Changi General Hospital (CGH) on 18 April after an 8km fast march at Bedok Camp. The Guardsman from the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards fell into a coma and spent 12 days at CGH’s Intensive Care Unit as his condition worsened, before he passed away at 5.32pm on Monday, a mere 10 days after his 19th birthday.

Following Private Lee’s untimely passing, the army confirmed that the late NSF will be accorded a military funeral and will be awarded the Guards and Recon military tabs, as well as the Guards beret he had been training for. Private Lee also received posthumous recognition of the rank of Corporal First Class (CFC).

While CFC Lee’s parents are reserving their comments until investigations conclude, his aunts, Michelle and Cecilia Yeo, have both been vocal in their demand for the authorities to give the public a full explanation on what happened the day their nephew collapsed.

This, after a letter by an anonymous soldier detailing what allegedly happened that night began circulating online. The author of the viral letter claims that CFC Lee was “forced” to complete the fast march even though he showed clear signs of severe heat exhaustion.

The alleged soldier also claimed that “the commanders did not follow the proper protocol for a soldier in heat exhaution” and “to add insult to injury, the sergeants were just surrounding him, talking cock and laughing and cracking jokes around him, obviously thinking the soldier is trying to keng.”

More recently, both CFC Lee’s aunts have appealed to their nephew’s army mates to tell the full truth during investigations, adding that this is the last thing they could do for CFC Lee whose passing has shattered their family:

To all Army mates and witnesses on that fateful day , please speak out for Dave where he can no longer do that…

Posted by Michelle Yeo on Thursday, 3 May 2018

If Dave had touched your life in anyway and you can see and feel how this incident has shattered our family and his…

Posted by Cecilia Yeo on Wednesday, 2 May 2018

CFC Lee’s aunts’ appeal comes as a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Commander asserted yesterday that measures such as mandatory water parades and temperature checks to prevent heatstroke were taken for CFC Lee.

Writing in a letter to The Straits Times, Commander of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, Brigadier-General (BG) Kenneth Liow said that CFC Lee’s temperature was normal before he began the 8km fast march.

Besides the mandatory water parades and temperature checks, commanders and soldiers were reportedly reminded to look out for signs of heat injury during training. BG Liow added that when CFC Lee was found to be affected by heat injury, on-site cooling measures like the removal of clothes and application of ice water were employed.

He further elaborated that a custom-built evaporative body cooling unit at the medical centre was used for CFC Lee and that he was evacuated to the nearest hospital since his condition was severe, in accordance to protocol. BG Liow said: “All these measures were taken for CFC Lee. We are deeply saddened that despite this, his condition did not improve.”

Noting that there were “no recorded fatalities” in the past 9 years due to heat injury or heat stroke, BG Liow said, “The SAF does indeed seek to achieve zero fatalities and will continually put in place safety systems to achieve this.” He emphasised: “The SAF will spare no effort in improving our systems to achieve zero fatalities.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has revealed that a Committee of Inquiry (COI) has been convened to investigate the circumstances leading to CFC Lee’s death and that the COI will be chaired by a cluster superintendent from the Ministry of Education. MINDEF added that one of the committee’s members is a medical specialist from the public healthcare sector.

MINDEF said: “The COI has full powers and access to information and personnel to investigate the circumstances leading to the death, determine the contributory factors and make recommendations to rectify any lapses uncovered.”

The Ministry added that the police will also conduct investigations independently, while a coroner’s inquiry may be held, depending on the outcome of the investigations.

Adding that it has implemented recommendations from previous COIs to improve the SAF’s safety systems and processes, MINDEF said: “The SAF takes the safety of our servicemen seriously and will make things right if there are inadequacies uncovered. The Army is committed to ensuring that our soldiers train realistically and safely.”

It added: “The Army’s focus is on rendering assistance and support to the family of the late CFC Dave Lee during this period of grief. An SAF Family Liaison Officer has been assigned to support the family. Family Support Officers and counsellors from the SAF Counselling Centre are also on standby to support.”

CFC Lee’s military funeral will take place tomorrow.

 

65 COMMENTS

  1. The fact that family members have to plead with army mates to tell the full truth is preposterous! Why should they have to plead for the truth unless they have no faith in the system? The first people who should be demanding nothing but the truth should be the army chief. It speak volumes of the lack of confidence in the system fearing obstacles put in the way of the real truth in their desperation to cover their hides.

  2. Bringing plenty of new citizens who does not serve NS is a way to bring down the country! They should serve before granting citizenship. I finished my full NS Term and those NEW citizen already have head start in work and studies. All for one, one for all

  3. the more you scare of these commanders the more they bully you. your whole platoon must be very co-operative and put on strike and stop working. this is how you have to show your platoon or Company thst you are just NSmen not labourers or toy.

  4. He is given a guards of honour sent off and even promoted to next rank. FOR WHAT????? Got pay increase ah? Will this things justify his passed on? Will the army compensate his family millions to cover his lifetime earnings if this incidents didn’t happened? Guards of honour sent off and promoted….phuuui.. Sadly as the case of previous young NS passed on, nobody can sue the army of negligent.

  5. The only way our country can become better and stronger is to make sure everyone do their jobs deligently and responsibly. Any lapses of that must be brutally prevented and if not weeded out. Its not about being personal or vengeful, not even about justice, to me

  6. Hi to all Dave platoon mates, do not be afraid or be intimidated by any threat by the army officers! All you need to do is to tell what exactly you guys have been doing for the day before and the incident day! By speaking up the truth you will live with peace and without guilt for ur entire life!

  7. First my condolences to the family of Dave for their lost. This shouldn’t have happened and if anyone from the unit claimed measures has been taken it’s pure bullshit! Truth will always emerge! I’m very disappointed as only recently when my son enlisted I thought I saw improvements of SAF as compared to my days serving NS!

  8. (Zaidy) That why i always tell my self, why sld i give my fullest strength/interest to the ARMY? Why sld i chiong all the way???

    My pattern, i stop when i think my body can’t take it…i will not force myself…
    Example a Car..if u driving a Proton, why pretend/push it capability like u driving a EVO/SKYLINE…

    I always advise my nephew who now serving, don’t let them TEKAN2 U….u just serve and fuck off unless u want to Sign On

  9. No need to investigate n plea and we already know what happened. We have served NS before. How we were treated only ourselves will know. These so called Instructors n regulars always suspect soldiers were malingering and reporting sick also said we Keng. Must be all these idiots that caused his death. We must punished all these inhumane people with at least 30 years of imprisonment.

  10. Hey guys, please stop imagining that the mates are under any threats by their officers. In fact, because they are under police and COI investigation, all the more they are encourage by their superiors to be upfront. At this time, we should really try to be constructive and not stir things or twist things around.

  11. These young mens’ lives will be in a mess if they reveal anything….the so-called protectors of this city will come out with legal and military terms to shut anyone for the sake of the nation….suppressing in order to protect the suppressed

  12. White god like system Self appointment Self , to give their own member to be commander n PIC , they believe only their own children are son , other Singaporeans children are not , safety matter is only talk n talk by their sweet words, Do the white god really care ? n why incidents continue to happen.

  13. That’s why don’t need to scare of them and giving them too much power. This is what being resulted. Officers scold you and abuse you by acting fierce only; out of camp (unless they are from SPF) they are nothing. Just be brave, talk back and complain if really needed. If you are being right and logical. Then there is nothing you have to be scare of. Don’t have to scare about getting charge, penalize and future ruin. Sometimes tio mark can be a good thing, then nobody dare to bully you and you might be assign to do no brainer tasks. The more you scare, the more they will bully you.

    Learn to bootlick your superiors there, learn the rules/law well so that you can go around them easier, only keng those stupid punishments and things away and be siao on when comes to doing work. When people see a good value in you and able to give what your superiors want most of the time. They will then give you a good life without finding much trouble with you.

    I believe that things are much better now compared to our dad’s generation, just that we need to voice out more for the wrongdoings and problems. Then things will be improve even better.

  14. Weak, strong, disabled… In Whatever medical conditions…
    No soldiers should die in peaceful training. Period.
    Mindef needs to take this seriously… N punish those responsible. It is never easy to build parents’ trust of the safety of their sons when in your care.

  15. I can’t imagine being the commander wherein you brought the death of your private – would he be able to sleep at night – would his conscience haunt him? If the government admits, there will be plenty of lawsuits in the future.

  16. Yes, please let our citizens know the true color of our MOD’s on how we were treated in the service.Like MONKEYS. How many families had sacrificed their love ones. Wasted their precious time to study due being forced to serve….

  17. Dear Singapore Platoon Mate of Dave mate…please tell the TRUTH to the parents and don’t be afraid to Stand-Up what is the TRUTH as myself I know the truth behind his DEATH but you Guys are BEST Witness TRUST NOT the Police or your Officer but SPEAK UP to the Parents and Relatives of PTE Dave honestly peaking you guys KNOWS full well this COULD have be AVOIDED and HEAT Stoke was cause by some “STUPID Punishment”

  18. Hello SAF Commanders,

    You Do NOT Punish a person till DEATH for just one stupid Handphone Matters….Get the Drift SAF Officers and Minsiter In Charge….This is an Army NOT a Prison Concept and the United State of American ARMY and UK Army are realistic with their DISCIPLINE then you guys in SAF.

    How you feel if your son dies for someone stupid MISTAKE of Over-Punishing a CHILD and that Parents may not be able to Give Birth anymore and don’t think your Government Baby Bonus enought to Cover ALL expenses on bring-up a child….UNLESS you guys are also into the same ship with the Government “Making MONIES for the PAP”

  19. Hello SAF Commanders,

    You Do NOT Punish a person till DEATH for just one stupid Handphone Matters….Get the Drift SAF Officers and Minsiter In Charge….This is an Army NOT a Prison Concept and the United State of American ARMY and UK Army are realistic with their DISCIPLINE then you guys in SAF.

    How you feel if your son dies for someone stupid MISTAKE of Over-Punishing a CHILD and that Parents may not be able to Give Birth anymore and don’t think your Government Baby Bonus enought to Cover ALL expenses on bring-up a child….UNLESS you guys are also into the same ship with the Government “Making MONIES for the PAP”