Obligatory military service part five

in life •  4 months ago


Last week I started a serie about my time in the Army during my Obligatory military service. At the end of this post you can find a link to the other part(s). My idea to write about this came from the news that on Morocco they are planning to re-introduce the obligatory service again. It reminded me at myself servicing the army when it was still obligated.

It's funny to see the memories comming back at full speed. I thought at first that it would be a serie of two or maybe three posts, but while writing so many (great and less great) things came back. It would be a shame not to mention those.

walking march

For some reason it is still common that soldiers have be able to march long distances. Especially nowadays you would expect that there are other ways to travel long distances, but it still is something for the basic training of soldiers.


During our training we had to march too, the first one was one of 40 KM and everybody hated it. The main reason eas because of our boots (see photo). These were the kind of boots you have to have walked in for at least 3 months before they even fitted well. So the boots weren't prepared to walk already such a distance. I remember that a lot of us guys had major blisters on out feet and almost couldn't walk for two days after the march.


So when we heard another march was comming I made a appointment with the military physiotherapist because (I was sure about it) I wouldn't survive another march on those terrible boots :). The physiotherapist had a look at my feet and said that my feet were ruined by constantly wearing sneekers in my youth, and that that was the reason of my blisters and massive pains. So he wrote a prescription for our sergeant that I could walk the next march on my Nike's :)
At that moment I could not care less what the reason could be for my painfull feet, I didn't have to do it again on those terrible boots.. Mission accomplished. :) A lot of my fellow 'victims' were jealous at me because they still had to wear those boots.. :)

24 hours watchkeeping

Part of the training was the so called "24 hours Watchkeeping", although they said it was part of the training I thought it was just a easy way to have enough 'employers' for this job. The purpose of the task was to secure the barracks from uninvited guests and to check everybody at the gate. You were in a team of a couple of soldiers, a watchcommander and a few civilian security guards. There were two kinds of duties:

  • access control at the gate
  • Securing the area, walking around the compound to check fences and illegal entry of the barracks.

The shift was 24 hours without any sleep, you had one hour of work and one hour of rest for 24 hours long.
With every shift you had to do the same ritual with your weapon (because you were walking around with real bullets). Before you entered the guardhouse you had to unload your weapon, perform some security checks and give the bullets to the chief of operations. This was repeated every shift you had.

Because our barracks were close to Antwerpen (Belgium) a lot of armypersonel went out at night to Antwerpen. This resulted that every night it was quite busy at the gate with solders returning from a evening out, and yes some of them had a bit to much alcohol in them. I remember one guy, when I was on duty at the gate, getting angry cause I couldn't let him in. He forgot his military passport so I wasn't allowed to let him in. He called me names and threatened to come and look for me when I was of duty. Although I wasn't impressed by his action I did reported it to the commander because we had to when someone was making troubles. Later on I heard that he was put in detention on the barracks because he caused a lot more trouble afterwards. And one thing I do know, you don't want to be arrested by the Military Police....

When securing the area you walked along the fences with the civilian security guard. I remember walking with some older guy who already worked there for many years. walking aong the fences wasn't as easy as it may sound because a lot of fences where covered by bushes. The guard told me the reason why we really had to check on the fences. It turned out that some activists (against the army) have broken into the compound recently by cutting the fences and after that they have demolished things. Instantly it was much more exciting :)

When you had a hour of duty in the 24 hours shift you could sit down in a small room where there was some magazines, drinks and sandwiches. As I told already you weren't aloud to sleep or even take a powernap. To check upon that they placed a camera in the room. The chief in command could watch on screen if someone was falling asleep.
I think they had learned from the past with that. When it was my turn to take a break again (being already awake for about 16 hours) I dozed of a little. While I didn't noticed anything they approached me silently and yelled very loud in my ear, I jumped up like a madman. After that I didn't fall asleep anymore. I still don't know the use of staying awake in your time off, I guess it had something to do with 'making a man out of you " :)

The last weeks of training

In our 8 weeks of training we learned a lot, we've learned to become a basic soldier with a certain speciality (for our group Land Rover driver). After the training you were placed at a other part of the army somewhere in Holland, I first was placed at the staff platoon for the communication troops in Ede, Holland.

Before the end of our training we arranged that we would go to Antwerp with the whole battalion at night. So of we went. One of the guy's suggested to visit a sex-cinema, just for fun.. And of course as following we were we agreed. Well, I can tell you, that's really something....something awkward.. A big group of guys watching porn together in a cinema, giggling and making fun while in the back of the cinema a mid-age couple was watching the same movie and later on doing IT themselves..... It was the first and last time for me ever setting foot in a cinema like that :) But it was fun !!

in Antwerp we partied all night and visited the well known bar 'In den Ossepoot" , (I just read it was already closed for some years now). Of course, when your having fun, time flies but also the alcohol consumption. I remember comming back at the barracks in the middle of the night. Next morning at the morning gathering in front of the building some where still under the influence of alcohol, it was a though day afterwards, but boy did we had fun.

The last friday before we went all our own way to different stations we had a buffet with our family at the barracks.
You could show your family around and show them where you had been the last weeks :)
We had to wear the 'Dagelijks Tenue", a kind of military suit for special occasions. Most of us felt like monkeys in it...Lucky for us it was the only occasion we ever worn.


The next story will be about my first experience in my new role as a Land rover driver in Ede.

See also the other parts in this (true) story

Part one of this story
Part two of this story
Part three of this story
Parth four of this story

Thanks for reading,

Have a great day

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Oh, I'm so glad I never had to do military service. I'm crazy about hillwalking, and many army veterans also enjoy this, possibly because they're used to long walks and fitness training. However if I'm doing a low-level walk of any length, I always take lighter boots or walking shoes, because I've experienced the pain and blisters of long walks in heavy boots. Heavy boots are great for going up steep hills, but an absolute nightmare on flatter ground.


True, I have participated in several long marches here in Holland, but I walked them on normal hikingshoes, they are much lighter than the boots from soldiers.

Hi verhp11,

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Wow, thank you very much... Much appreciated !!

I remembered my journey as a CAT officer way back in high school. It was as messy as hell but made me physically strong. Even though we're at young age, the command policy is always aligned with the standards of Philippine Army and Philippine Airforce - everything is disciplined.

Every Saturday and Sunday, we need to wake up at 2:00 am to join the physical exercises and every afternoon after class, we need to have a formation for some meetings and the upcoming events plus a little wake up exercise.


Wow, that's real discipline. But I agree that it helps in getting physical but also mentally strong. Thanks for your comment !!

Very interesting as always. Yeah it is scary to think about what other people do in those kind of cinema places. I don't think I would even want to sit down in the place unless they were power-washing it between shows!


Afterwards I thought about that too, but then we didn't...yek....

Congrats on Curie passing by this post!


Thanks :) I was surprised, what a great reward :)

i know that a lot of countries still have obligatory military service. Not mine, but a lot of European countries.

What do you think about it since you have done it??

Personally i think its a good idea in certain situations. For anybody who doesn't go to college or take up a trade, i think it would be very beneficial as we have a lot of young people wasting away. Doing a year or two in the military would teach them a lot of skills and a work ethic that would be very hard to find otherwise.

Is anybody exempt or does every citizen need to do it?


No not every citizen, woman for instance didn't had to go. And if you have two older brothers who'm serverd that you (as the third) didn't had to go.


Interesting. I'm always curious about topics like this as I work with a good few eastern Europeans some of whom did have to enter the military.

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Well thank you :)

To call them Boots would be unfair to medieval torture devices, we called them boxes for good reason.


True... :)

hola @verhp11 ser un militar no lo es cualquiera que va a un cuartel militar tu si eres un guerrero @verhp11 tuviste perseverancia tuviste una experiencia genial a la final tener el traje de gala y compartir con la familia muy hermosa tu historia gracias por compartirla @neymarth10

hello @ verhp11 be a military is not anyone who goes to a military barracks if you are a warrior @ verhp11 you had perseverance had a great experience to the end have the gala dress and share with the family very beautiful your story thank you for sharing @ neymarth10

Hello very interesting post it is scary to think how painful can be those boots but it is also found it kind of funny to imagine the walk wearing nike's:)


Believe me, they (the nikes) where heaven ;)


Loool im sure they were:D

@verhp11 The boots are heavy and the training is strong. I imagine long walks and sleepless hours. The responsibility is also to take care of the place with a weapon. Strong training qun vensiste. Beautiful suit you saw in the picture. The most important is that your family was also there to enjoy you. A big greeting. Excellent post of the life in the military service.


Thank you very much !!

Making a "man" out of you by depriving you of sleep even on breaks? Well, they will end up making a zombie out of me....

That must have been quite an experience, you have so many fun memories from your military service. It was so smart of you to run to the physiotherapist when you had those blisters, it definitely did relief you of the pain you would have had to go through wearing those boots again. Hahah!

The military service thing kinda sounds cool (although it does have its down sides, ofcourse). I would have been great if its not obligatory though but they might have just a few people come for it. Lol.


when it was abolished it was only on volunteer base. I personaly do think that's for the best, you get devoted and ambitious people for it who choose the army themselves, much more motivated. Thanks for your comment.


That sure is for the best, that's when they will get people that are really willing and up to the task come up for the service...

I pursued a health care service related career to avoid intense military training when the my country mandates some enlistment. It's least likely to happen but you just can't be sure nowadays when any nation threatens here and there with nukes. I wouldn't mind the physical strain of the job, I'd probably be hating the attitude superiors would display to command discipline and respect.

Though the training to equip guns and fight is nice, there's plenty of mental strength building just by being a health care provider. Fighters can kill while medics do the opposite.


Health care, especially in the army, is a heavy but (I think) thankfull job.
They make the difference..

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This is hard in so many ways.. Life experience, definitely.

This is very interesting, I personally have never felt like part of that army video, because I consider that it is not mine, each one for his ideals at the front, although I think that very interesting and useful things are learned, except that in my country does not apply. I only know that it is quite an adventure, and that the final experience that you have is the most rewarding, as well as the friendships you can make in the course. good post!

Haha that was smart. Your fellow soldiers probably didn't think of going to the same physiotherapist too. 😂

And a 24 hr shift! Oh my. Well it shouldn't be so bad if it's just done a few times in a week or a month maybe? I almost had that 24hr experience 3x a week working two jobs last yr but I always find a way to sleep for at least four hrs at least.

Am thinking we should have that obligatory military service in our country too. People aren't as patriotic as should be around here. At least as far as I can tell.

South Korea has the obligatory service but perhaps only countries close to war need it? Or first world countries? Ah now I am feeling kinda sad for my country. 😅

It's nice to read something like this. At least we learn how it's like where you are.

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Enjoyable to read man! Here in Switzerland military training for men is still manditory but you can also do like a 'social duty' called Zivil Dienst, and where have those guys here in the hospital as well doing jobs here and there.

Also the marching..men... I walked the Nijmeegse vierdaagse once, there were also a lot of militaires...they all hated it :D

I get sore feet just LOOKING at those boots, Peter! :( Ouchy! Glad this time is finished for you.

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