Become a full-fledged leader
Many would not guess that Lt. Col. (LTC) Jerik Mok is a soldier on the face of it.
“I probably don’t fit the typical archetype of a hulking soldier or military commander,” the 33-year-old laughs, pointing to his relatively light build. Despite his mild manners, he definitely looks the part with his heavily pleated beret and neat green uniform.
Shortly after graduating from Columbia University with his Master of Arts in Political Science, LTC Mok was put on a month-long attachment to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. United States, which was undergoing its final combat preparations before deployment to Afghanistan.
He originally planned to shadow one of the platoon leaders for the duration of his assignment. However, he was informed by the American company commander that he would assume the role of platoon commander and lead one of the platoons instead.
As daunting as the mission might be, then-Captain Mok refused to be intimidated. His leadership abilities so impressed the American soldiers that they came to treat him as one of their own commanders.
“There is more to being a scholar and an SAF soldier than good grades or physical strength,” he says. “It’s also the heart of the individual – how strong you feel for your fellow human beings and how far you would be willing to go that matters.”
“It’s in the tough times, in the most difficult circumstances, that we really see our true selves come out.”
Soldiers have a unique ability to see through all pretense, continues LTC Mok. “The confidence, the bravado, the smiles – all of that will be stripped away, and your men will see you for who you really are.”
“Your courage, your character, your ethics, your vulnerabilities and your fears, and above all, the care you give them.”
“Therefore, being a soldier and a scholar requires you to be humble,” he concludes. “Because your willingness to learn will be a key determinant of your success. With the right heart of service and a strong desire to learn, there will be no limits to what you can accomplish. »
LTC Mok attended the Indonesian Army Command and Staff College Command and Staff College Course in 2019, spending a total of six months in Bandung and Jakarta. As the course was conducted entirely in Bahasa Indonesian, he had to undergo a five-month period of intensive language lessons before leaving.
Besides the experiences of deepening his soldiering and leadership skills, it was the opportunity to do so in a completely new environment that he came to cherish the most.