You’re in the army now!

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The 2022 military skills development (MSD) intake is complete with 1 997 recruits undergoing administrative processing at five SA National Defence Force (SANDF) bases ahead of basic military training (BMT) in a fortnight’s time.

The SA Army and SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) reported on the new arrivals using phrases and words such as “mixed emotions”, “apprehensive” “big step”, “confusion” and “excitement” when covering arrivals at Infantry School in Oudtshoorn, the SAHMS Training Formation in Thaba Tshwane and military suburb’s town hall, a few kilometres south of the medics training facility.

All those who were recruited were searched and screened by military police to ensure their two-year stint in uniform did not start on the wrong foot with contraband not welcome in the lines of any national defence force unit. With this done and dusted, in the words of Infantry School Captain B Mars, the MSD instructors then “gave a brief introduction to their new lifestyle”.

Moving to the Northern Cape, specifically Kimberley, the home of 3 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion, the specialist training unit for the SA Army, the newcomers heard from MSD system wing commander Lieutenant Colonel MJ Wagenaar they would be “transformed” into soldiers. According to Mars the newcomers “will be fortified with all the skills necessary to thrive in the army”.

Also on hand in Kimberley to welcome the new recruits was Major General Rene Mercuur, Chief: Army Corporate Services. She told those who reported at 3 SAI and other bases they made it through a selection process and “were found to be the most suitable to be enlisted as volunteers”.

The administration process includes verifying personal information, medical and the quartermaster for personal stores.