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EDF artillery conscripts' family members treated to live firing show

Family members of Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) conscripts serving with its artillery battalion (Suurtükiväepataljon) got the chance Thursday to see state-of-the-art South Korean-made K9 Thunder self-propelled guns in action, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.

The battalion says it wants to make this family day a regular event, while some parents AK spoke to were grateful for the opportunity (see gallery above).

One, Liina Kõrgend, mother of an artillery conscript, said it was "very important, as relationships are important. While it may sometimes be the case that you are pro-peace yourself, it is vital to support our people and see where they are, and what they are doing."

Another mother, Kadri Rakaselg. Remarked on the "Very loud explosions and the shaking of the ground," that a K9 in action can produce.

"This is very, very cool. We are really glad that we came," she added.

For the conscripts themselves, the higher than usual number of spectators who congregated at the EDF's Central Training Area brought an added importance to the firing exhibition day, already important because for many it represented their first time on firing exercise.

One conscript, Reamees (Private) Erik Mühls, said this was "a very proud feeling, as we have been waiting for this day since the beginning of basic training. It's a key day and we are all very stoked.

Private Kutt Kaaren Lepik concurred, saying: "I totally agree with this as we've been training for exactly two months for this day, so it's a very proud feeling."

The EDF conscripts five months' service so far has brought about noticeable changes, their parents added.

"He has definitely become more confident, perhaps a bit more serious and mature," Kadri Rakaselg said of her offspring.

On the other hand, a spell of military service brings an ability to appreciate the comforts of the four walls of home, which allow for a greater degree of privacy, for instance, than does army life.

Liina Kõrgend said of her child that: "When we first arrived home, it was all a case of 'Oh, I want to be somewhere by myself, in a corner.' That there are places other than the toilet where you can sit alone in a room with noone disturbing you."

Close to 50 family members attended the artillery battalion's inaugural open day on Thursday.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera' reporter Rene Kundla

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