I'll be doing mandatory military service for a whole year [ Update: DONE]

Discussion in 'The Rumble Strip' started by sems4arsenal, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    Some of you might have already known this, but I wanted to share my "experience" to be.

    In Egypt -- every male who finishes college and has a younger brother, is required to serve for a minimum of one year. Some majors like Engineering and Medical fields can serve up to 3. One starts the service by staying at a center like training facility for a month (starts next week for me). Then you get to serve somewhere else for the remainder of the year's service.

    How the rest of year pans out is dependent on luck and connections. You could serve in an awful place with little comfort and rarely take days off. You could also serve in a comfortable place where you even get to go home everyday. Hopefully I fall in the latter camp.

    It's a bit demoralizing not being able to get a job after all the hard work in Uni, and having to survive this year. Heck, the training period has little to no creature comforts. So as you can imagine, I'm really dreading this situation.

    Would love to hear if someone else had a similar experience. What do you do when you're in a place with little comfort? how do you stop yourself getting bored out of your mind?

    I realize this is a bit of a rant too, but felt I needed to blow off some steam.
     
  2. Lain

    Lain Premium

    Messages:
    6,680
    Location:
    United States
    Sorry to hear that.

    I served 6 years in the military, but it was voluntary... though naturally where I ended up wasn't entirely under my control, luck and connections were certainly a factor.. but there was a certain degree of choice (usually dependent on aptitude) too.

    Since I was in the Navy, deployments were the worst times that I had to contend with. Stuck on the ship for several months with only the occasional port visit to blow off some steam, working late hours, standing long boring watches... they sucked. But they'd be over before you knew it, and as long as you had something to do in what little free time you got, it wasn't too bad.... I'd play games, watch movies or read manga. Magic: The Gathering was also popular among me and a handful of my shipmates, so we'd play that on occasion too (and the less nerdy would play poker)... though different people have different jobs and thus schedules, so finding time for something that requires multiple people is a bit trickier.
     
  3. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    @Lain Thanks buddy. Comics and books in general shall be my go to means. Not sure we're allowed to watch movies or play games though.

    Hopefully it passes quickly.
     
  4. AOS-

    AOS- Premium

    Messages:
    28,191
    Location:
    Canada
    I imagine doing service is good experience for one's growth. Not necessarily career-wise, but as a person developing some kind of discipline and wisdom, is it not?
     
    Johnnypenso likes this.
  5. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    I disagree with this to be honest. It's a decision that was made for me without my consent. I'm also 23 so hardly young anymore. Discipline and wisdom can come from life experience in normal day to day life.
     
    zzz_pt, FoRiZon, Dan and 5 others like this.
  6. jergto

    jergto

    Messages:
    401
    I was looking for a military section or thread and surprised to not find any.

    Op your post reminds me of this South Korean dude that streamed Starcraft II on twitch, name is POLT. He’s been gone for a good 8 months now, had to serve his military time.
     
  7. VBR

    VBR Premium

    Messages:
    6,073
    @sems4arsenal - So sorry to hear this! Hope you make it through ok. Best wishes.


    :tup:
     
  8. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    Hopefully It goes better for me :lol: . 8 months is a lot of time.

    Thanks mate <3
     
    VBR likes this.
  9. Blood Eagle

    Blood Eagle

    Messages:
    1,765
    Location:
    United States
    I served 8 years on the US Marine Corps. 4 active duty and 4 as a Reservist. It's what you make of it. A year goes by really fast. I made some great friends. Sometimes it was great and sometimes downright sucked. But all in all I'm proud of my service and I don't think I'd take a different course if I was in the position again.
     
    Johnnypenso likes this.
  10. Robin

    Robin Premium

    Messages:
    16,070
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    The good thing I suppose is that there will be loads of other people there feeling exactly the same way you do so at least you can all face the annoyance together, also if your not actually leaving the country and are able to at least go home it will help a bit. I know it sounds cliche but it might be kinda interesting.
     
  11. Rallywagon

    Rallywagon Premium

    Messages:
    5,938
    Location:
    United States
    I joined the Army when I was 24. Coming out of basic I was in the best shape of my life.... 11 years later and that still holds true.
    Like Blood Eagle said, its what you make of it. It's definitely not an easy task when it's compulsory, but you will survive it. It's only a year. Use the opportunity to learn skills you didn't have before, its not going to be just learning to shoot a gun.
    Remember, you're not the only poor sap that's going to be there. Not the only one who spent however long dreading this. One thing I think every vet says they miss the most is the camaraderie. I've been out nearing on 9 years, and I still have friends that I talk to daily that I met in the Army. Can't say that about anyone else I've met but family.
    I won't lie though, no matter where you end up, there is going to be a lot of stupid. There is going to be a lot of hurry up and wait. And there is going to be a lot of boredom, that some officer somewhere will capitalize of with some really dumb duty. Get ready to throw lots of rocks in hats.
     
  12. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    I really hope it does. One issue which is probably something you haven't encountered is anyone within the army here mostly looks down on someone with a lower rank. That I anticipate will be the toughest hurdle.

    Yep, that's defo a positive. Hopefully the people I meet are nice :D

    These are most of the reasons I'm dreading it.

    Thing is, being lucky and having connections is me serving in an office where I clean desks, make tea, and so on. It's common to go to a place where you just stand guard for 10 hours a day. I'll only get actual weapon training only during one day.

    It's a hilariously pointless year.
     
  13. XoravaX

    XoravaX

    Messages:
    351
    Location:
    Finland
    I did a year of mandatory service in Finland, and despite it being somewhat different from the Egyptian system, I guess I can share some wisdom.

    First and foremost, a good group spirit (esprit d'corps) gets you through almost anything. Especially when that's on the squad and platoon level - in a wicked way, you can be sworn enemies with the neighbouring platoon and then best friends with them against the neighbouring company, and that again on the higher echelon, at least here it worked up until the brigade level. But sub-squad-level rivalry (ie. rivalry between squadmates or fireteams) is bad, you should help your squadmates always when possible, the same applies to your platoonmates pretty much, because they are the guys you spend most of your time with. If someone starts stepping on others' feet for personal advantage that's pretty certain to **** up the squad dynamics.

    But if you have working squad dynamics, it'll be a lot easier. You cover up each others' errors, you carry each others' gear if someone doesn't have the strength to do so any more, stuff like that to do things as quick as possible (to get a little more rest) and lighter for everyone. An extra daypack to carry is less of a burden than the problems you get if you are late, and the benefit of getting extra time to chill is worth it. Everyone has to understand that.

    What to expect:
    - strict time schedule
    - a lot of time waiting around in a fancy drill formation (at least here everyone always had to stand in attention in a platoon formation when waiting for the CO or a class lesson to begin or to get into any building or when going to eat)
    - a lot of getting ready for waiting
    - hurrying for the very smallest things
    - when in barracks, time goes slow
    - same for when on the field
    - when you are on the field you want to be at the barracks
    - when you are at the barracks waiting just doing nothing you start getting bored
    - when you get bored you want to go on the field to do something
    - when you are in the barracks and in a hurry, you don't have any time to breathe
    - almost everything's more lax on the field
    - constant hurry during the basic training
    - no privacy at all
    - no possibility to keep in good touch with the civilian life
    - tiredness, you almost have to sleep on the free time
    - the wakeup is hell
    - even the simplest tasks are practised over and over, until you can do them immediately when awoken in the dead of night, this includes:
    - gun cleaning
    - gun field strip
    - loading the mag
    - muzzle control and gun operation
    - practising the trigger pull
    - crawling
    - high crawling
    - running (of all sorts) etc.
    - grenade throwing
    - landmine setting
    - digging foxholes
    - movement training

    I'm not sure how it goes in Egypt, but we got our first range day at the end of the first week (all clear mental cases are discharged and exempt from service over the first few days), and we trained shooting a lot. I got to shoot thousands of rounds in very varying exercises, from range days to late-service live fire combat simulation with authentic movement in both advance and retreat, with explosives, vehicles and RPG's in the mix, akin to this Youtube video (sorry for the music) from other Finnish servicemen.

    A lot of the tolerability of the service time depends on your leaders also, especially those closest to you. In Finland that works pretty well as a lot of the arbitrary stuff has been weeded out and the military trains leadership through example nowadays instead of shouting. We never had any serious hazing problem in the military but nowadays there's pretty much none of it left. About Egypt, I don't know, but if you ever become a leader of anyone, think what will happen if you some day are sent to war with the men you command. If you treat them like ****, are you going to be an effective unit or not? Will you be better off at the end of the war by treating them with disrespect? Of course not.

    What I learnt during service:
    - the obvious simple military stuff (shooting with an assault rifle, using AT weaponry, using different kinds of explosives, creating IED's)
    - other things about military
    - tolerance and understanding towards people from different social backgrounds and of different political opinions (after all, a conscript unit represents a pretty wide spectrum of the society)
    - cold and bad weather endurance
    - proper leadership (I went into NCO course, then from there to RO course and was finally trained to be an ATGM platoon leader)

    In my personal experience and in hindsight it was actually pretty good time. I still keep in contact with my platoonmates and NCO course friends on a semi-regular basis and have met up with them several times after. I also got contacts that might be important in the future (some of them were lawyer students etc.), and almost a profession out of it (I almost ended up in the career officer course through my own will, if I had't get in the medical school I would have gone there). Some of my buddies went to become career officers, one trained and enrolled into the special forces and such. At least in Finland the military service is also a pretty common topic when young men strangers to each other meet, within the first two hours of discussion a lot of it concerns what they did during their service time, and I've heard from my Israeli friends that it's the same way there (tho they also have women in service so it's not only young men who discuss it).

    At least in my experience, it didn't help me to develop self-discipline much. The military discipline is in almost any situation very external, ie. there are punishments (for us, it was through a system where the unit CO would investigate and if guilty of any breach of the military code, you'd get either extra work tasks, a leave arrest or in a worst-case scenario a criminal sentence if it went into court) or other ways (informal collective punishments like leaders making us arbitrarily to do extra physical exercise and such, also you could get picked on in the future by the leaders, including having to do all the extra ****** little tasks there always are) to get you in trouble if you screw up, which form the basic level of discipline, and then the collective discipline, where your peers start picking on you if you screw up and cause trouble to them too.

    Self-discipline starts to develop only if you are willing to perform well, either through competitive spirit between squads/platoons/companies/whatever which can only develop well if the esprit d'corps is high enough, or through wanting to achieve some personal goals in the military.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  14. Jawehawk

    Jawehawk Premium

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Denmark
    Too late to be of any help, but I also wanted to share my experience on the matter.

    Denmark has mandatory conscription for males too, however, trying out the military is so popular that very few are forced into it, and even if you do pull the number to go, you can still opt out. In the two platoons (50ish people each) making up the conscripts where I was trained, there were maybe 3 or 4 who were drafted into it. I've always wanted to join the military, although I wanted to be a helicopter pilot. When my eyesight wasn't good enough, I tried out the army instead. Basic training is just 4 months, which is at least half of what it ought to be, and it's plagued by a lack of ressources, so we didn't do any combat exercises with other units, nor did we really do anything involving vehicles aside from roadblock operations.

    The one thing that I suspect is true for all militaries is the hurry up and wait aspect. With only 5 sergeants on a good day, and often just 1 or 2 leading people through solo exercises, you do a lot of waiting around. You also do a lot of cleaning, be it your rifle, your uniform, or your barracks room. It gets real tedious when, during morning inspection, the sergent goes out of his way to find something that has just the tiniest speck of dust on it, just so you can be told to do it properly next time :lol:

    We did a lot of shooting with our M95's (M96 Carbine for short people), which is our designation for the Canadian C7 and C8 assault rifles, which in turn are Canadian build M16's and M4's. We also trained on the Swedish AT4 disposable launcher, although only one got to live fire one. The rest had to settle for firing 9mm practice rounds that replicate the trajectory of the real rocket. Whoever scored the best accuracy with the training rounds got to live fire, and she missed when she got around to the real deal. Kind of funny ;)

    We also used the LSW version of the C7, which was bloody awful. Just a completely pointless gun, with slightly better sustained fire capability due to the heavier reinforced barrel. No machine guns for us. Overall, a lot of time was spend making us proficient with our rifles.

    Our sergeants and first lieutenant were quite good, only punishing people when it was actually appropriate. Like when some idiot had an accidental discharge of his rifle (thankfully, only loaded with blanks), they tied a brick to his arm, and then that was his rifle for the remainder of the day. In Denmark, they are not actually allowed to "punish" you with ordering you to do sit-ups for example. In that regard, it has become somewhat of a kindergarten. Although the commanding officers get around it by calling the punishments "gifts", so it is not entirely nonexistent. We also weren't allowed to sing our conventional soldier songs because they were dirty and "offensive to women", but thankfully, that too was ignored. The female volunteers sang along same as the rest of us.

    Boredom during the inevitable hours of waiting around is managed by chatting with the people you will be serving with. I really liked the people I served with, and we pretty much never ran out of nonsense to talk and complain about. I don't know how the pay is in Egypt, but in Denmark, for someone just coming out of high school, the pay is quite decent. Although the hours are many, so the hourly pay isn't really that good. You'll no doubt get a lot of experiences that you will look back on fondly too. Crawling through a long drainage pipe that gets narrower the deeper in you get, with the mudwater levels rising correspondingly, all while having slept very little for 4 days, sucks sooo, so much while you're doing it. But afterwards, it becomes a fun memory.

    My biggest gripe with Danish conscription is that 4 months is not enough time to teach someone the many fundamentals of soldiering, and there seems to have been a disconnect between the actual purpose of conscription, having a somewhat functional reserve to draw on in case of war, and what we were actually doing. How they hope to use people with no experience in working with other, more professional units, in a real world defensive war situation, I don't know. In any case, just get the most out of it. There are positive experiences to be had in the military.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    XoravaX, sems4arsenal and Lain like this.
  15. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter

    Messages:
    186
    Location:
    United States
    Best wishes for your safety.
     
  16. MoLiEG

    MoLiEG

    Messages:
    5,862
    Location:
    Mexico
    Hope you are doing fine mate :) Keep it up!
     
  17. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences @Jawehawk @XoravaX . There are some similarities to how I feel but my experience is different in a worse way.

    Over here we don't really do much "military" work/training per say. We do get Fire drills, monthly shooting exercises (single rounds), occasional lectures. But most of the work involves chores basically. Your assigned to platoons and you have specific jobs there. Almost everybody works as guards (on your platoon gate for example). My Platoon has mandatory 8 daily hours of guard duty (sometimes I do much more than 8). Other jobs range from gun maintenance, office duties, mechanical work on vehicles, etc. Add to that the fact we do daily cleaning of the building and it's tiring work. Worst of all are the other "must do orders". These are dealt to us in days where there isn't much to do. They're basically tasks/chores that serve no purpose other than to have you do something. This involves stuff like moving equipment from place A to B and returning it back the next day, cleaning the offices of officers, and fetch quests.

    All of that combine to the fact that after about 2 months -- I'm feeling pretty tired and borderline depressed. I rarely get some sleep and it's never more than 3 consecutive hours. I'm a bit lucky I get 7 days off every 14 days, but even that doesn't do much help. I'm trying my absolute best to move to another platoon where there is less work but it doesn't look likely.

    My platoon mates are genuinely decent people, so it helps to have them there.

    Thanks buddy <3.
    I can take it so far mate. Hope things improve though.
     
  18. Corsa

    Corsa Premium

    Messages:
    1,446
    Hang in there time passes fast.
    I did 6 years in the US Army.
    13 bravo 2/82 Field Artillery 1st Cavalry division out of Ft Hood TX.
    I did two tours in Iraq right after 9/11.
    I won't speak of what happened over there but I will say that if I can crawl out of 21 months of hell and build a better life after you can do this.
    It's all about keeping your friends and family close but more importantly your mind occupied during the slow times.
    Take every memory you can, look for the sunrise tommorow and be strong.
    You got this.
     
    MoLiEG likes this.
  19. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    Best advice that I use. Sorry you went through that. Thanks buddy <3.
     
  20. Jawehawk

    Jawehawk Premium

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Denmark
    Hmm, it does sound like the powers at be use conscription in Egypt as a way of filling gaps in guard roles rather than as establishing a competent reserve in case of war. Sounds like there's a lot of chicken ****, orders given just to make life worse on the soldiers, going on. Sorry to hear that mate.

    During my time, conscripts only had to stand guard for the base 1-2 times. To be honest, I quite liked it, as we were given genuine responsibility for the base. For night shifts, our commanding officer usually slept, owing to having a full day of work the following day, so it was just us conscripts doing patrols and sitting in the guard house. For day shifts, there was dedicated guard personal, so you literally just spend that shift in the backroom with magazines, tv and games, only being there in case of some emergency.
     
    sems4arsenal likes this.
  21. ImmalovemaGTR

    ImmalovemaGTR

    Messages:
    1,585
    Location:
    Austria
    Here in Austria you can choose between 6 months military service or 9 months community service as soon as you are 18 years old.

    I chose the community service and applied at a consulting center for refugees. I started working there one week after I finished school and it was such a good experience, that I got a regular job there for additional 5 months.

    My brother is in the Austrian army, but I am pretty sure that you just can't compare Austria's army to the one of Egypt.

    What I want to tell you is to make the best out of it. If you find the possibility to learn something, then learn it.
    I am quite young (21), but I am sure about one thing: Every experience is useful. Again, I really can't say anything about military service (despite from my brother's experiences and experiences of some friends who did the 6 months), especially not outside of Austria, but I am sure that afterwards you will be a person with more knowledge and experiences, that may be helpful for your life.

    I wish you all the best :)
     
    sems4arsenal likes this.
  22. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    Holy :censored: , it is done.

    Yesterday, I received my certificate. Yes, it is finally over.

    It has been an appalling experience to be honest. Toughest year in my life without a shadow of a doubt. It's been a psychological and a physical challenge, but I'm glad to get it over with. From waking up at 5 am to getting 4 hours of sleep on average, it has taken its toll on me, so I will hopefully have a month off before starting my first job (already applied to several positions).

    I did sort of learn new stuff; how to deal with loneliness, living in below average conditions, independence, dealing with anxiety, etc. I also have a new profound appreciation for everything that is good in my life. My friends and family have been incredible this year; their support has been amazing. I've also gone to appreciate how much stuff like videogames, movies, books, and even online communities like this one, offer a much needed escape, and I truly am grateful for everything.

    The next adventure shall be job hunting. I already have an interview next week (bit soon, but it's a decent job), but I still need to figure out my career path.

    I'd like to end this post by saying that I do really appreciate GTP and the awesome members here. I had my phone on me during the last 6 months there (not allowed, but I managed to hide it :D ) and browsing GTPlanet was always a joy. So :cheers: everyone. On to the next adventure.
     
  23. Liquid

    Liquid Premium

    Messages:
    20,543
    Location:
    Slovakia
    Wow, I have to say I missed your original post and was unaware of your predicament but I'm glad you've come through it with an appreciation for the good in your life.
     
  24. Rallywagon

    Rallywagon Premium

    Messages:
    5,938
    Location:
    United States
    Glad to hear you made it out none to worse for wear. You should now also have a better understanding of just how far your body and mind can be pushed.
    Good luck with the job hunt and your future endeavors.
    One tip from an old vet to a new one. Dont stop the physical training portion. By that I mean working out. You should be in decent shape now. You dont have to get crazy with it. But set up a certain amount of kilometers to run every week, and maybe 2 days of doing some calisthenics or yoga. In a dozen or so years your body will be better for it. And it's easier to stay in the groove when you're fresh out, than it is trying to get back into shape 10 years down the line.
     
  25. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    Thanks buddy :cheers:
    Wouldn't go that far :lol: . However, that is indeed great advice. I feel very fit currently, and I def plan on doing regular exercising. Thanks buddy.
     
  26. kikie

    kikie Premium

    Messages:
    16,042
    Well done.

    I'm going to report you. :D
     
  27. Robin

    Robin Premium

    Messages:
    16,070
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    They'll make him go back and do another year :lol:
     
  28. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

    Messages:
    24,935
    Location:
    Thailand
    It’s been a year since this thread opened?

    Congrats on your completion. Time to get back to normal life again.

    As for waking at 5am after 4 hours sleep, that’s about a daily occurrence for some of us. ;)
     
  29. sems4arsenal

    sems4arsenal Premium

    Messages:
    15,149
    Location:
    Egypt
    Oh noes :lol:
    Oh god, no :lol: .

    Thanks mate. Weirdly. this sleeping patter made me feel more energetic. However, living like this for long periods must be tough.
     
  30. Jordan

    Jordan Administrator

    Messages:
    22,204
    Location:
    United States
    I'm glad you came out the other side, Sems.

    It's great to hear that GTP helped you pass the time. :)

    Best of luck in your job search!
     
    Rallywagon and FoRiZon like this.