Friday, June 13, 2008

Swiss Do Total of About One Year Military

Swiss men spend only a total of about ONE year in their 30 year military life.

Today, military service for Swiss males is universal. At about age 20, every Swiss male goes through 118 consecutive days of recruit training in the Rekrutenschule. This training may be a young man's first encounter with his countrymen who speak different languages. (Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch.)

Even before required training begins, young men and women may take optional courses with the Swiss army's M57 assault rifle. They keep that gun at home for three months and receive six half-day training sessions.
From age 21 to 32, a Swiss man serves as a "frontline" troop in the Auszug, and devotes three weeks a year (in eight of the 12 years) to continued training. From age 33 to 42, he serves in the Landwehr (like America's National Guard); every few years, he reports for two-week training periods. Finally, from ages 43, to 50, he serves in the Landsturm; in this period, he only spends 13 days total in "home guard courses."

Over a soldier's career he also spends scattered days on mandatory equipment inspections and required target practice. Thus, in a 30-year mandatory military career, a Swiss man only spends about one year in direct military service. Following discharge from the regular army, men serve on reserve status until age 50 (55 for officers).

More NS Deaths in Singapore

Time to relook at our NS system? After all, it has been 4 decades and the world has changed since then.

SAF suspends physical training after two deaths in two days
By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 12 June 2008 1715 hrs

SINGAPORE: In an unprecedented move, the Defence Ministry declared a three-day halt to all physical and endurance training activities in the army, navy and air force. The 'time-out' from 12-14 June follows the death of two servicemen in training within two days. 20-year-old Officer Cadet (OCT) Clifton Lam Jia Hao, a pilot trainee with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), died on Wednesday, one-and-a-half hours after he collapsed while he was undergoing jungle orientation training in Brunei. A day earlier, 20-year-old army recruit Andrew Cheah Wei Siong died after he fainted while taking part in a two-kilometre walk training activity on Pulau Tekong. Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said the suspension will allow the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to review and re-focus on training activities to ensure that proper procedures are in place before training resumes. "While the SAF needs to carry out realistic training, this will be done without compromise to safety," added Mr Teo. The minister also extended his condolences to the families of Mr Cheah and OCT Lam. "I am saddened by the loss of two young and precious sons of Singapore," Mr Teo said in a statement. - CNA/ir

Checkout Joel's take on this saga.

& Molly Meek
Specters of Unnameable Soldiers: On Necessary Deaths & Singapore's Tragic Modernity