Top officer cadets beam with pride after gruelling year

Lyna Mohamad

1384 Lt Mohammad Zulfahmi Solihin @ Abdul Hannan bin Haji Zulhazmi stood tall at the Sovereign’s Parade Ceremony of the 19th intake, as the recipient of the Sword of Honour, the highest award bestowed to an officer cadet by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

Lt Mohammad Zulfahmi, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics from the University of Melbourne, Australia, told the Bulletin, “To get the Sword of Honour was not easy, but it was worth it, after enduring a year of intensive training. It is also gratifying to be top of my class.

“The most challenging part was having to adapt to the COVID-19 situation. We had to change our training in accordance with restrictions. This meant having to change our mindset as we needed to practise social distancing. For me, the physical and mental aspects were the toughest features of the training.

“Another challenge was having to lead the entire intake throughout the whole training. As the top of my class, I was put as the head of the intake for several months. I found it difficult to lead the other officer cadets while maintaining discipline and setting good standards, so that we could graduate as excellent officers.”

Photos show 1407 Lt (U) Mohd Khalid Wassadisalleh bin Haji Mahmud (L) and 1384 Lt Mohammad Zulfahmi Solihin @ Abdul Hannan bin Haji Zulhazmi (R). PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Lt Mohammad Zulfahmi had anticipated a post at the First Battalion, but was instead posted as a Platoon Commander at the Third Battalion in Lumut Camp.

“This is rather unexpected, but I will just have to adapt to the appointment. Being in the military gives me a platform to lead and inspire others. While other careers have these platforms too, it’s far more satisfying and rewarding to lead a group of people towards success in the military,” he said.

The recipient of the Best Academic Award, 1407 Lt (U) Mohammad Khalid Wassadisalleh bin Haji Mahmud, who will be posted as a student pilot at the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF), meanwhile said, “It has been an extremely challenging year, both physically and mentally.

“We were given a lot of exercises, as well as studies. This requires plenty of mental fortitude, the willingness to learn and the physical strength to continue with the commissioning course for an entire year. My goal is to work towards becoming a pilot for the Royal Brunei Air Force, after which I hope to be in the organisation’s management. I am very keen on technology, and look forward to making changes by integrating tech into the organisation.”

Mohammad Khalid, who holds a Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Business Administration from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), feels honoured at the recognition from the instructors and leaders in the Defence Academy of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.

“I hope to continue on the journey in becoming a military officer,” he said, adding, “It has always been a childhood dream to be pilot. Now that I have reached this stage, I hope to fly a helicopter, especially the Blackhawk.”