Singaporean named top student at US Air Force Academy, 2nd in its history
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Singaporean named top student at US Air Force Academy, 2nd in its history

LTA Jonathan Loh is first Singaporean to top US Air Force Academy cohort since 1995

A Singaporean has done the nation proud by graduating top of his class at a rigorous four-year military course in the United States.

LTA Jonathan Loh received the Harmon Award for being the outstanding cadet at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) — a feat accomplished by only one other Singaporean.

Source: @af_academy on Instagram

Overcoming the loss of his mother at a young age, he has said it’s an honour to represent his country.

Singaporean wins 10 awards at US Air Force Academy

LTA Loh’s cohort-topping achievement was announced by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) in a Facebook post on Friday (7 June).

Source: The Republic of Singapore Air Force on Facebook

RSAF said besides being top graduate, he also won nine other accolades at the USAFA.

The USAFA is a university and military academy that offers a four-year programme that includes athletic and academic coursework as well as character and leadership development and military training, according to its website.

At the USAFA, LTA Loh was part of the Martinson Honors Program, an integrated scholars’ programme open to a “small and diverse community of cadets” who take part in “broad learning across and beyond the academy curriculum”.

On 28 May, he was one of just 45 cadet scholars honoured during the programme’s award ceremony.

Source: US Air Force Academy

Singaporean wins award for outstanding US Air Force Academy graduating cadet

However, one of the most significant gongs LTA Loh may have received was the Harmon Award, which has a 65-year history.

According to Order of Daedalians, a fellowship that gives out the award, it’s presented to the “outstanding US Air Force Academy cadet in the order of graduation”.

This year, it was given to LTA Loh.

Source: Order of Daedalians on Facebook

Only one other Singaporean has won the Harmon Award, according to the list of recipients since it was first given out in 1959.

That person is now-retired Colonel Low Chung Guan, who in 1995 was also the second international student to receive the top graduate award in the history of the USAFA.

He unfurled S’pore flag at graduation

LTA Loh graduated in a ceremony on 30 May attended by no less than US Vice-President Kamala Harris, USAFA said.

Source: US Air Force Academy on Flickr

As he received his degree as valedictorian, he proudly unfurled the Singapore flag.

Source: US Air Force Academy on Flickr

He should be proud indeed of the fact he came out on top despite being one of only 15 international cadets in his cohort of more than 970 — and the only Singaporean.

Source: US Air Force Academy on Flickr

He says it’s an honour to represent S’pore

USAFA previously said that LTA Loh is majoring in Economics.

He served in the RSAF before attending USAFA and told the academy that it was an honour to represent his country.

While he’d considered other careers, he chose the RSAF as it captured his imagination and its mission resonated deeply with him, RSAF quoted him as saying.

Source: The Republic of Singapore Air Force on Facebook

His life wasn’t all smooth sailing — his mother passed away when he was young, he said.

While that meant she wasn’t around to see his success or attend his graduation, he’s grateful for the support of close friends and family members.

Source: The Republic of Singapore Air Force on Facebook

At USAFA, he learnt invaluable skills, he added, culminating in him assuming the position of Cadet Vice Wing Commander — leading 4,200 cadets as the second-in-command.

One of his “proudest moments”, he noted, was when he led a parade wearing his RSAF uniform.

Source: The Republic of Singapore Air Force on Facebook

Now that he’s graduated, he will return home to Singapore to continue his pilot training, Order of Daedalians said.

Also read: S’porean named best international cadet at British military academy, says he’s proud to represent country

S’porean named best international cadet at British military academy, says he’s proud to represent country

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Featured image adapted from @af_academy on Instagram and US Air Force Academy on Flickr.

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