A Committee of Inquiry (COI) has been convened by the Armed Forces Council to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of full-time National Serviceman Dave Lee, 19.
In a statement on Wednesday (2 May), the Ministry of Defence said the COI will be chaired by a Cluster Superintendent from the Ministry of Education, with a medical specialist from the public healthcare sector as one of its members.
In addition, the death will be independently investigated by the police. Depending on the police findings, a Coroner’s Inquiry may be held.
“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,” said Mindef.
“The SAF takes the safety of our servicemen seriously and will make things right if there are inadequacies uncovered.”
A COI is convened whenever a training-related death occurs, and is chaired by a senior civil servant outside of Mindef.
Lee, a Guardsman from the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards, had shown signs of heat injury after completing an 8km fast march on the morning of 18 April. He was admitted to Changi General Hospital but fell into a coma and eventually died on Monday.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (1 May), Dave Lee’s aunt Cecilia Yeo shared the contents of a Facebook post from a “fellow soldier” claiming that “Dave struggled to complete his fast march” and showed signs of extreme physical exhaustion but was forced by senior commanders to finish it.
The anonymous Facebook user accused commanders of not following the proper protocol for a soldier in heat exhaustion. Sergeants were just surrounding the young NSF “talking cock and laughing and cracking jokes around him, obviously thinking the soldier is trying to keng”, the user added.
Lee, who was posthumously promoted from Private to Corporal First Class, will be accorded a military funeral on Saturday.