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The Mr. gets called back

December 11, 2011

So I have been writing this blog for awhile already and I don’t think I have ever written about the military in Finland. If you want to know more about the Finnish Armed Forces, see the home page. First and foremost, if you didn’t already know, conscription for young Finnish men is the basis for service these days. There are lots of other things I could tell you about the armed forces in Finland, but I will save that for another day.

At about this time last year the Mr. got a letter from the Finnish Armed Forces. Without even opening it I knew immediately what it was. I have discussed with a lot of Finnish men concerning their time in the army (i.e. where they served, how long, what they did) and many of them told me that sometimes conscripts get called back. So – when I saw that letter, I knew the Mr. had been called back. It happens now and then that soldiers get called back many years after their service has ended. Soldiers cannot refuse a callback and soldiers’ employers must accommodate the callback request. The Mr. was paid for his callback.

When the Mr. completed his service he left as a corporal and the training he attended back in March was somewhere in southeastern Finland (I won’t disclose the exact location). The group included some 100 ranked former soldiers. The one thing he emphasized was that there was a lot of waiting around:

  • health checks (The Mr. said the strangest question he had to answer was, “Have you gained any weight?” Well, jeez – I guess about 95% of people do gain weight after the army!)
  • gathering gear (He was amazed that they got sleeping bags and mattresses.)
  • waiting for transport vehicles because there weren’t always trucks to move them around, but when there was action, they had to move fast.

On the first day they had some lectures (the content was strictly confidential) and when the “vääpeli” (their “godfather”) said they were going to the bush, there was a collective “Oh hell” from the crowd. The Mr. was actually intuitive enough to bring his own matches, knife and flashlight. Because he had a flashlight, he was the hero of the day in his group.

They did exercises out in the bush somewhere and had to sleep in tents. Upon pitching their tent in the snowy forest, they discovered that not all the tent poles were in the kit. They had to improvise. They also had a 15-man tent for 27 people. Some guys were shifted to another group and 17 remained, but it was a bit cramped. They had one shovel for 27 people; again, they had to improvise. Someone went to go and get some wood, and then had to come back and ask who had the one axe for the whole group.

They had shooting exercises with AK-47s in the middle of the night. The Mr. said this was an interesting experience because the flares and the blowing snow made the situation both interesting and challenging. He is experienced with guns (he is a member of a hunting group) and said the shooting was difficult and challenging. He was surprised at how badly he did.

Sleeping in a tent out in the cold (it was -20C at that time) was not everyone’s cup of tea and the Mr. said there was some grumbling. He did, however, get a good reception one morning when he cheerfully chirped out a “Hyvää huomentaa” to his group when it was time to wake up.

After getting the Mr.’s report I asked him if he had fun. He said yes, actually, it was.

The Mr. consented to having his face shown this time around, so here he is back in March doing his duty for his country.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bombum permalink
    February 2, 2013 6:36 pm

    I can guarantee that the assault rifles weren’t AK47s.

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