Romeo Juliet One
 

Romeo Juliet One

In 1998 (yeah, somewhere in the transition between bronze and iron weapons that occurred the previous millenium): I got a phonecall confirming my position at the 10th Armored Regiment in Strängnäs. I packed my stuff, bought the train ticket, went through the required bureaucracy at the university and went there the next day. (That regiment was disbanded 2005 - unfortunately so thoroughly that not even a memorial website remains.)

As chief of staff I served under (then) Captain Lönngren. At the company whose call sign was RJ (the other companies in the battallion were PJ, QJ, SJ, TJ and XJ - I'm sure you see the system here). Those were interesting times. I learned a lot of things that have been very useful, and we have kept contact (albeit sporadic) since. In November 2005 I ran into the then-Captain (now Major) at a train station, and we decided to meet up once I got back from the US (I was just about to fly over there). We did meet up, and while I didn't manage to get a single good picture out of it myself, I do have some pictures for those curious:

2005-07-31 20:14

Lilla Frösunda

2005-07-31 21:07

Lilla Frösunda

2005-08-26 14:47

Lilla Frösunda

2005-12-24 14:38

Lilla Frösunda

The family is quite industrious:

  • The mother (Milka) runs the children's clothing store AKIKO Kids[a].

    Fiorela (one of three daughters) does professional photography - for contact details, see her business card[b].

Footnote: Regarding Military Service

Sweden has compulsory military service. Sort of. Back in 1998 about half of the eligible went to military service. In 2004 that number had fallen to a third. Hopefully this system will be thrown out soon. With only 33% being selected, we are approaching the level where you can pick only those who want to serve and still end up with fully manned units.

There is also another suggestion that may finally end the compulsory system. The government decedes the number of troops that should be out on international deployment (UN peacekeeping service, etc.) at any given time. While the basic training is compulsory, and fighting for the homeland would be compulsory - being sent abroad isn't compulsory. You have to volunteer for that. Now, if you take the required number of soldiers that you need to maintain that number of deployed troops (you need support troops here, you need replacements for those rotating back home, and so on), you end up with the fact that just about everyone that goes through military training must sign up for international service. In short, the plan would be to ask everyone during enrollment if they were willing to be sent abroad. Then you train only those who signed up.