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Captain Disciplined for Negligence over Smoke Grenade Death Promoted Shortly after Mishap?

ELSON: The SAF says that the officers involved in Private Dominique Sarron Lee’s death were disciplined under military law for negligence following the mishap. Their punishment was said to have taken place in 2013. What I’d like to know is whether one of the officers was promoted shortly after that.

According to an army news publication from July 2014, Captain Chia Thye Siong was promoted to the rank of “Major”. This person bears the same name and rank to the safety officer “Captain” at the time, Captain Chia Thye Siong, who was supervising the safety aspect of the fatal smoke grenade exercise.

Comparing a picture sent in by a reader showing screengrabs from social media and an interview by Captain Chia Thye Siong with MediaCorp in 2013, its appears that this same person was promoted while the ink on the lawsuit filed by Pte Lee’s grieving mother hadn’t even dried yet.

As we know, an official inquiry into Pte Lee’s death showed that the medical officers who were tasked with taking care of the soldiers in the event of a medical emergency were not trained to spot signs or deal with asthma. Pte Lee was wearing a blue armband, indicating he had a history of asthma and needed to be paid special attention.

Commenting about the medical officers during the inquiry in 2012, safety officer Captain Chia Thye Siong that it would have been good to have known that the medical offices were not adept at dealing with asthma cases, and that the medic who attended to Pte Lee he did not have “enough medical training or adequate equipment to deal with asthma attacks”.

I would like some clarification from the SAF and MINDEF as to whether the person promoted in 2014 is the same Captain Chia Thye Siong as the safety officer Captain Chia, and if so, how did he get promoted so soon after an official inquiry found him negligent, and he was punished in 2013 for negligence.

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