Comments are pouring in on the project to introduce voluntary military service, which will be voted on by the parliament in the middle of this year. Realism also creeps in between naivety and arrogance. As a young student, during the time of Ceausescu, I also joined the army, necessarily in the uniform of that time. I can say that I was not sick.

Army until 1989Photo: Personal archive – Dani Rockhoff

For it not to be”wonderful thing” as President Klaus Iohannis said from the height of his current dignity, so did other men who were forcibly imprisoned for nine or fourteen months during the former dictatorship.

Instruction and grammar

In addition to the discomfort of living and dining conditions, most of those I spoke to complained of a double abuse of attitude: the graduates who studied, on the one hand, sticks to ottomans (i.e. senior and new soldiers), on the other hand.

As they say, it would not be so bad in the army if there were no capriciousness, ambition and even sadism in the application of punishments (as was the case with some excesses in the disciplinary battalion). But after the end of military service, there was less mental stability, more stories about jokes and exploits.

I, for example, remember that during three years of military service as a student, with one day a week of theory in class (Friday) and twice for three weeks during the summer vacation, I really learned something: tactics, strategy , how to shoot a pistol/machine gun, how to disassemble and clean it, how to crawl or grenade a tank, etc.

I learned that if an officer doesn’t like you, she will conduct field training on carrying an AG, a grenade launcher weighing over 7 kg. I also learned that in the army the plural of manta is e shellsand this is from a shovel shovelas the colonel who came for the inspection told us, the philology students.

For passing the tests, they were awarded badges and ranks (senior, corporal, sergeant, second lieutenant), and at the end, the students received military reserve books.

Armed with a spoon

However, the army imposes, first of all, discipline and the rhythm of life set in the group. Waking up at dawn, training, physical challenges (but not limited to) that force you to step out of your comfort zone, push your limits in conditions of immediate danger, with sustained effort and no immediate reward. Mandatory military service is most often perceived as a limitation, a limitation of freedom of choice. But how many things in life are wrong?

And now we are not even talking about obligations, but about a four-month volunteer, reasonably paid. writes: “Volunteers will learn how to handle different types of weapons, participate in field orientation, decontamination, first aid training, etc. They would be paid between 2,800 and 3,200 lei every month (depending on the weapon they train on), and at the end they would receive a bonus equal to three average gross salaries. If they do, employers will be forced to temporarily suspend employment contracts and ultimately, if they like and fit, young people will be able to choose a career at MapN.”

What is tragic about this? This is preparation just in the houses and that leaves the options open. Of course, there is the fear of recruitment during mobilization in the event of armed conflict. But the variety of specialties in the army, especially in an increasingly technical modern age, strongly softens the idea that, being a soldier, you automatically become “cannon fodder.” In fact, even as a simple civilian you can become a direct or indirect victim of drone bombing.

I must say that I did not have this fear, although I graduated from the army during the Iron Curtain, and with a military record in reserve, I could always be called up. By the way, women are not recognized for military training, as men are. A little discrimination or not?

Military volunteering in Germany

But let me return to the volunteerism offered in Romania only on paper and in public discussion, and more precisely to what is practiced in Germany. Almost 13 years ago, the German Bundestag sent the following statement: Deutscher Bundestag – Aussetzung der allgemeinen Wehrpflicht beschlossen

“German men no longer have to do military or alternative civilian service. Some 55 years after its introduction, the Bundestag suspended general conscription on July 1 this year, Thursday, March 24, 2011. Following the recommendation of the Defense Committee (17/5239), the CDU/CSU, VDP and 90/Green Alliance factions voted in favor of the Federal Government Defense Law Amendment Act 2011 (17/4821). The law also provides for voluntary military service of six to 23 months, which is equally open to men and women. In the future, up to 15,000 volunteers will serve in the Bundeswehr alongside ordinary and professional soldiers.

The suspension of conscription is part of a planned reform of the armed forces, which aims to reduce the size of the Bundeswehr from 255,000 soldiers to 185,000. However, the suspension of service only applies to peacetime; in case of tension or defense it can be activated again. Article 12a of the Basic Law, according to which every male German citizen may be required to serve in the armed forces, in the Federal Border Guard or in a civil defense association, from the age of eighteen remains intact.

Here are some features of “Bundeswehr training” in brief. A total of 18,776 soldiers were recruited in 2022. In the German army, young people who have not yet reached the age of majority, but have reached the age of 17, are admitted to training.

The requirements are as follows:

  • 1. German citizenship.
  • 2. 17 years old with parental consent or not younger than 18 years old.
  • 3. The desire to work, the desire to learn and the ability to work in a team.
  • 4. Physical health.
  • 5. Physical fitness.
  • 6. School qualifications are not mandatory for a career in the team.

Basic training in the German Bundeswehr aims to teach new soldiers, also known as recruits, the basics of military skills. Basic training takes place at the beginning of service as a soldier and usually lasts three months.

Basic training is intensive – imparting basic military knowledge that every soldier should know. In just three months, new recruits get to know military everyday life: marching, shooting, sleeping in the open, etc.

Overnight in the barracks is mandatory during basic training. Silence begins at 10:00 p.m., and they retire to the bedroom at 11:00 p.m. The company commander can decide on exceptions.

Wake up at 5:00 a.m. after personal hygiene and dressing, report and bedroom inspection. Then they go to breakfast together in the group kitchen. Daily main operations usually end at 5:00 p.m., and on Fridays at 11:00 a.m.

As a member of the military, you can count on an average annual salary of €38,200 and a monthly salary of €3,183. This corresponds to an hourly wage of €19.90.

Due to their status as civil servants, professional military and temporary military personnel have the advantage of having to pay only a small amount of salary. For example, social insurance contributions are canceled. Only care insurance and taxes are collected. Other benefits include “free treatment” and pension allowances.

For a captain who has served in the army for twelve years, the annual pension can increase to 860 euros. For a primary military doctor who has worked for 20 years, the annual pension can increase by even 1,730 euros. Here you can view a table of figures relating to monetary payments in the German army. Besoldungstabellen: Grundgehälter von Soldiers und Officers (

Iron soldiers

And for those who think in bolder strokes, here is the classification of the Austrian press regarding the strongest soldiers, or rather, the strongest special forces in the world: Die härtesten Spezialeinheiten der Welt • NEWS.AT

1. GSG9 and SEK from southern Bavaria, Germany

2. 2nd special unit Argus, Switzerland

3. GIGN, France

4. Sayeret Matkal, Israel

5. Navy Seals, USA

6. SAS, Great Britain

7. Special Forces 7 Alpha, Russia

8. Unidad de Operaciones Especiales, Spain


  • Romania wants the youth to save the army from aging and irrelevance: “If I want discipline, I go to the corporation, not to shoot with an AK-47”