Prowling Incident

Some of my NS stories from my unit days. Context: after BMT I was assigned a combat medic vocation and posted out to the old School of Military Medicine, Ulu Pandan Camp. Was there for a couple of months before we moved to Nee Soon Camp. Currently the place has been converted to the new SIM hostel (not sure why anyone would wanna stay there though).

The old birds who have trained in SMM back when it was still at Ulu Pandan will remember the infamous nursing block. The building housed various lecture theaters and training rooms spread across a few floors. During the day it was a source of respite from the physical training because the LTs and training rooms were air-conditioned. It is a different story at night however. Stories passed down tell of equipment being moved around when no one was supposed to be there; the CPR dummies that come to life in the middle of the night; and the lady in white that has been spotted by prowlers.

My own story goes like this. While I was on course in Ulu Pandan, I was arrowed to do prowler duty one night. This being the first time I’ve ever done prowling, I was a bit anxious as I wasn’t very sure what it entailed exactly. Coupled with the various stories surrounding the camp, suffice to say I was jumpy when it was my turn to head out. The briefing by the guard comm was simple enough – go to the various checkpoints, sign against the log sheet at each checkpoint.

My partner on prowler duty was another dude who I wasn’t very familiar with, being from another platoon. Said buddy was half asleep when we set out and pretty much remained in the same state throughout. Worse still, he was holding onto the maglite which was constantly pointed very helpfully at the ground despite me telling him to hold it higher many times. Just wanting to get it over with, I didn’t make too much of a fuss and we finished our first round without any incident.

On the 2nd round however, as we were making our way towards the nursing block, I could make out some movement on the 2nd floor corridor from a distance. First thought in my mind was “Who is that cockernathan and why is he at the nursing block in the middle of the night?”. But as we got closer to the block and I got a better look, goosebumps broke out all over.

Someone or something in white (not white like snow, it was more muted) was gradually moving along the 2nd floor corridor. A slow and steady pace, not unlike someone taking a leisurely stroll. Best part? It was headed in the direction where the checkpoint at the nursing block was located (far end of the block, behind the 1st floor staircase).

Multiple thoughts ran through my mind at the same time then. Do we head up to the 2nd floor for a closer look? Siao ah. Do we pretend we didn’t see anything and continue to the checkpoint? Mai la. Do we just turn tail and run, risking the wrath of the guard comm/DO? Tempting. All this time, my buddy was still semi-conscious and standing like a wooden block behind me. Then I made a split second decision (which I still can’t explain to this day). I grabbed the maglite from my buddy, sprinted to the checkpoint, scrawled something on the log sheet, grabbed my buddy and hauled ass back to the guard house. Couldn’t stop shaking when the guard comm came out to see why we were back earlier than expected. He took one look at me and didn’t say anything else other than telling us to go rest.

Didn’t stop the DO from ordering a turnout later that night though.

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