More Than 1,700 Conscripts and Volunteers Join Military Service ({{commentsTotal}})

From today until Wednesday, nearly 1,700 young men and 38 women will join the military forces in one of the year's two call-ups. A third of this number joined voluntarily.

The general manager of the Defense Resource Agency, Margus Pae, lauded this season's call-up, saying that conscripts are "the healthiest and exemplary citizens whom the state can rely on."

He also said military service should be a mark of quality for employers. "A good soldier is a decent worker, who is physically healthy and has received teamwork skills, plenty of work experience and different vocational training," Pae said.

Men drafted in July will have to serve for 11 months, which will allow them to become drivers, specialists, petty officers and reserve platoon commanders.

Taking into account that this year the quintennial Song and Dance Festival coincides with the drafting date, the Defense Resources Agency has made an exception to more than 50 recruits so they could take part in the festivities.

Training in the military service is the basis of the reserve forces and the first line of defense for Estonia. Under the current model, training passes on knowledge about national defense and teaches trainees to work as a team. After the service, the subject is obligated to serve as reserve unit. He may also join the home guard or become a professional soldier altogether.

Compulsory military service is a planned operation, which takes place under the edict of the Minister of Defense, predicts that 3,162 conscripts will serve in the military force during 2014. This year 38 women can voluntarily join the military.

Estonia is only one of several northern European countries and six EU countries to retain compulsory military service. Popular support for the draft remains relatively high.

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