Second batch of UAE recruits begin national service
ABU DHABI// Hundreds of Emiratis began their first day of national service on Sunday after checking into military camps.
The enlisting citizens were part of a second batch of recruits to begin their military training following the thousands of enrollees that made up the first in September.
In contrast to the first round, which consisted mainly of high-school graduates, the second batch was made up of Emiratis from across the designated age range of service – from 18 to 30 years old.
This included Hazza Al Ameri, 26, who had originally hoped to join the military when he left secondary school.
“Health problems kept me from joining back then but when I heard we were all serving I wanted to be in the group,” said Mr Al Ameri, a government employee working in customer service.
Mr Al Ameri almost did not make it into the second batch of recruits.
“Work initially released a list of 30 employers who would be serving and my name was not on it. But this morning I discovered a new list of 68 with my name included.”
Mr Al Ameri said he rushed to the Al Nahyan Camp Recruitment Centre in Abu Dhabi and spent most of yesterday trying to get permission to enrol the same day.
“Thank God I finally got the papers. I’ll submit them to work and head straight to the military camp now,” he said.
Alawi Al Dares, 29, had eagerly anticipated the beginning of military service on Saturday but was turned away at Al Ain because of demand.
After showing up at 1pm, he and almost 100 others were told the camp had reached its capacity, he said.
The next day he was back at the recruitment centre in Abu Dhabi, trying to make sure he started his service.
“I would rather start now and not in the third batch starting later next year. It will be closer to summer time and no one wants to start then,” he said.
Despite his frustrations, Mr Al Dares said he was excited about the idea of serving.
“All four of my brothers are in the military or the police and as the only civilian they are proud of me joining them in serving my country, which has given me so much.”
Mr Al Dares said as a keen athlete he was looking forward to the physical training, albeit not in the hot weather.
“Everything about this excites me but I just wish it was more organised,” he said.
However, Mr Al Dares said he did not hold anyone responsible for the delay as he understood that the process was new and that teething troubles would take time to sort out.
Although Naser Al Marzooqi, 26, was not serving in the second batch, he said he looked forward to being called up.
“I’ve already had my medical check-ups and am ready to do my duty,” said Mr Al Marzooqi, who works for the finance department at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.
Despite military service disrupting his plans to obtain a doctorate in Malaysia, Mr Al Marzooqi said he would put it on hold for his country.
“It’s an honour, to tell you the truth, and I am looking forward to learning self-defence, better time management, and gaining more discipline,” he said.
Mr Al Marzooqi said he would be doing his military service with joy for his family and his country.
Updated: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM