Feature

Farm Boy Now An Army Major, Camp Commander

“I used to play with toy guns and knives, hiding in jungles imitating to be a soldier. Little did I know that this would be the career meant for me,” Major Singh said.
17 Oct 2021 11:10
Farm Boy Now An Army Major, Camp Commander
Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Major Praneel Singh with his family.

Major Praneel Singh did not know that he was getting promoted.

He was speechless when the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Major-General Ro Jone Kalouniwai awarded him his new rank.

Major Singh had been a Captain since 2008.

Recognition of his work

Major Singh has no words to describe how he felt after being given recognition for his hard work.

He is the Officer-in-Charge for the Blackrock Camp in Nadi.

He is responsible for Middle East pre-deployment training of soldiers.

Career

The son of a farmer had no aspirations of becoming a soldier when he was a boy.

But destiny had something else planned for him. He was selected in 1999 after he applied to the RFMF.

A move he did not even disclose to his parents fearing they would talk him out of it.

“I used to play with toy guns and knives, hiding in jungles imitating to be a soldier. Little did I know that this would be the career meant for me,” Major Singh said.

Second from left: Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Major Praneel Singh with RFMF Commander Major-General Ro Jone Kalouniwai inspecting the guard of honour at Blackrock Camp Nadi. Photo: Republic of Fiji Military Forces

Second from left: Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Major Praneel Singh with RFMF Commander Major-General Ro Jone Kalouniwai inspecting the guard of honour at Blackrock Camp Nadi. Photo: Republic of Fiji Military Forces

“I never knew that one day this little fantasy would eventuate into reality.

“I made the decision to join the military when I was a teenager and I have never regretted my decision. I would have never done anything better than this.

He said he was thankful for the discipline, training, guidance, and professional development he had attained from the RFMF.

Growing up in Rakiraki

Major Singh was born in Rakiraki and grew up on the small family farm in Vunitagaloa.

Life on the farm was not easy but it was peaceful and a happy one, he says.

He attended Nanuku Sangam Primary School and completed his secondary education at Penang Sangam College.

“During those days, when they asked what I would like to be when I grow up, I would say a doctor. But it was a time when those answers were automatic,” he said.

“Growing up in Rakiraki, we had no idea of what the military was. We had a built up perception from movies.”

In Suva 

After finishing his secondary school studies, Major Singh enrolled at a computer school.

He did not have access to a computer while growing up.

It was during this time that a relative told him to go to Suva and start working.

While in Suva he saw an advertisement printed in the dailies asking for young men and women to join the military.

It was as if the advertisement was calling out to him.

And he applied. To his amazement he was selected and after a selection interview, there was no looking back.

“After coming to Suva, I really understood what the military was about. My eyes and mind were open and I had this desire to become a military officer,” he said.

However, at that point in time he had not told his parents.

It was only when he started training as a recruit that he told them what he was doing.

The tours

Major Singh was a typical rural farm boy. So when he joined the military, there were a lot of things he did for the first time.

This included boarding a plane for his first tour of duty to Sinai in 2003.

“So, you can guess the anxiety and the excitement I had when I was bound for my first tour. 

“Many people have the pleasure of boarding a plane when they are still children but for me it was a different experience altogether,” he said.

“As a child, travelling the world was just a dream. The RFMF made this a reality.”

Since 2003, Major Singh has made seven more tours of duties which included Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.

He has also had the opportunity to attend various courses in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States of America.

Major Singh has been part of the 3FIR, the Force Training Group and Land Force.

He has been officer-in-charge for Nadi and Lautoka.

Family support

Major Singh credits his family for supporting him and making things happen for him.

He said his wife Sujata was very understanding and this allowed him to carry out his duties with the thought that there was someone at home always supporting him.

“When I start my training exercises, I am based at the camp for weeks. My wife has always ensured that she looks after our little family,” he said.

“I believe that family is very important for a person’s wellbeing. 

“Even the RFMF is a family. We look after each other.”

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
Advertise here
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper