Reserve the disadvantaged

In the Bundeswehr, even people who had nothing to do with the military could learn how to become a soldier. Interest in it is increasing.

Training begins: potential reservists at the military training ground in Hammelburg. Within three weeks they learn their skills. Otherwise, it takes the German army three months to do so. Pictures: dpa

HAMMELBURG – Heat makes the air sparkle over the concrete floor of the Hammelburg military training ground. “Do you understand everything?” Calls the training manager. In a unanimous voice, “Yes, sir!” He hesitates between the sounds of gunshots. It’s the third training day for potential reservists. They are also referred to as hunters.

On this day, the sun rises from a clear sky over the large Bundeswehr training ground. Says Major Christian H. Hunters, Maximilian K. and Nelson V., “Sunscreen and cold drinks should be used when it is very hot.” Sweat drips down the soldiers’ cheeks. They don’t move while waiting for instructions.

bring a lot
special acquaintance with

The training is part of the “Unserved Reserves” project of the Hessen State Command at the Military Training District in Hammelburg, Bavaria. Supports the Bundeswehr reserve in a variety of tasks. Reserve soldiers can contribute special knowledge from a civilian career, the German Army wrote on its website. Says the commander of the forces H.

This time, 74 recruits took part in the training, 58 of them from the state of Hesse. Interest has also increased among women: so this time 15 recruits are part of the training. People without troop experience are trained here for several reserve units in three weeks instead of three months. According to the Bundeswehr, about 29,000 reservists are currently working across the country in exercises – with about 60,000 needed.

“At the societal level, the interest has increased significantly compared to the past,” says H. “We have people from different areas of society who would like to make a contribution – and that’s also within the Bundeswehr.” The major says that the Russian aggressive war against Ukraine also plays a major role, which is why the interest in the reserves has increased.

With the war in Ukraine, the German army again became the focus of public attention. The federal government wants to strengthen the German army with a special program of 100 billion euros and thus fill the gaps in equipment.

“The war in Ukraine shows that the war on our doorstep is no longer a fantasy. This underscores the need for action here as well – including the reserves,” says journalist Alex D. . “I can also imagine that in the case – which no one wants – they will come back to me.”

Major Christian H. Aeronautical Engineering at the Bundeswehr University in Munich and has been working with the Bundeswehr since 2008. In 2020 he added a degree in Finance. “I don’t know exactly where I want to go in the future,” says the 37-year-old. “I’m doing this as a backup right now.” Since the end of 2021, H. has been in charge of the “Project Unserved” in the state of Hesse.

“A soldier’s tool is always the gun,” explains Major H. training. That’s also the focus here today: loading activities, disassembling and assembling a weapon or simulating a live shot – at least for the time being.

The firearms simulator works like a large screen size. Maximilian K. and Nielson V. are now in office. Weapon handling is trained and the shot is simulated. The project manager says H.

average age:
35 years

According to the Bundeswehr, the average age of reservists is about 35 years. Nelson F. The 23-year-old is a student teacher in geography, physical education, and ethics. He heard about the program from a colleague: “I live in a country that gives me so much and where I have the feeling and obligation to want to give back.”

Maximilian K. is a risk manager at a bank. The 36-year-old wanted to join the army. “Every buddy is a helping hand and the camaraderie is really good,” he says. “The handling of the assault rifle is very important. It’s our tool in the trade, we have to master it and that’s why we have to routine it. Even in the heat.”

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