x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Emirati recruits report for registration for national military service

The first batch of conscripts were asked to report for registration at the Al Nahyan Recruitment Centre on Sunday.

On parade: the first group of Emiratis register for military service at the Al Nahyan Recruitment Centre in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
On parade: the first group of Emiratis register for military service at the Al Nahyan Recruitment Centre in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // The first batch of excited recruits registered for national military service on Sunday.

The Al Nahyan Recruitment Centre was packed with young Emiratis who were eagerly enrolling to play their part in the Armed Forces.

Students who graduated from high school this year and have reached their 17th birthday were asked to attend the centre for data registration, which will continue until Thursday at centres in Al Nahyan Camp in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Camp, Rahmania Camp in Sharjah and Liwa Camp in Al Gharbia.

One of the recruits, Rashed Al Dhaheri, 18, arrived at Al Nahyan with friends who were also registering. He was asked to bring his passport, Emirates identity card, family book, high-school certificate and birth certificate.

“I don’t know what will happen next, but I am excited. I know we will have to do tough exercises and I am anticipating it,” he said, adding he was happy to “get out of his comfort zone” and serve his country.

Omar Al Hashmi, 18, was curious to find out what military experience would entail, but was worried about not being able to access his smartphone.

“I’ve heard we cannot use our phones or iPods and I am a big social media user. I don’t know if I will be able to handle it,” he said.

“I will have to try to slowly stop using the devices,” he said.

He also said his family members were worried about his health and well-being.

“My mother, she worries a lot. She is worried I will not be given enough food,” he said.

His mother was now feeding him “lots of meat” so he would be in prime condition for the training, he said.

“I don’t play sports, just my PlayStation, which doesn’t count. Now that I have registered I will have to become fit,” he said.

After the registration procedures are over, the applicants must pass a medical. Mohammed Al Maamari, also 18, said he too was excited to join the service, although he was worried about his education. “I wanted to start a new life in university but now I will have to see where the service will take me,” he said.

Mr Al Maamari said his father, who is in the military, had always encouraged him to join up.

“I am used to my father’s strict rules and I tried going to a camp once in high school. I know what will happen and I am used to similar circumstances,” he said.

“Being in the military service means I will help my country, the Armed Forces and myself.”

Ahmed Al Mansouri, 18, said he was looking forward to the military service. “The service will be good for us, it will teach us many values that have sort of started to fade away. It will give us patience and strength, so it will surely benefit us,” he said.

He said his family members had encouraged him. “My brothers and cousins told me ‘this is your country, your UAE, you must serve it and learn to defend it’.”

“That got me thinking about my country and gave me more pride in taking part in the service.”

They will then be informed by the end of August which camp they will serve in.

Graduates who have achieved a 90 per cent average or more during the last academic year will have the choice of entering the first batch of conscripts or postponing until they receive their university degree.

Those with averages lower than 90 per cent will be going in the first batch if the conditions are fulfilled.

Students who have failed can postpone the recruitment until they have passed in the next academic year.

More information on national military service is available by calling 800 8880.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae