My career as a Reserve Officer

In 2009 I graduated from high school. Luckily for me Germany still had conscription at the time. Although it wasn’t really enforced anymore, it gave me an excuse to join up for a year. I needed the excuse because my parents really didn’t want me to go. While I obviously wanted to get away from home, I didn’t want to be too extreme about it, so I had the great idea to join the unit closest to my grandmas house in southern Bavaria. I nagged the recruiters until they posted me to the alpine commandos of the German Gebirgsj├Ąger.

Finally, in July 2009 I started basic training as a young recruit. It wasn’t a glorious time, marked by mental and physical exhaustion but I showed me (as it did so many others) how far I can really push myself. So as strange as it sounds, it was the best experience of my life because it was the worst. After basic, time started flying. I was posted with 5th (heavy) company, 231st alpine commandos and trained in anti-tank and mountain warfare. After nine months, in 2010, my active service time was over – or so I thought.

After leaving the military I could never really shake it. Following the news I kept thinking about the time I had spend there and my firends from that time. I also really stood out with my friends in the UK and it soon became something of a trademark. So, as soon as I returned to Germany in 2015 after university, I applied for reserves officers training. The same year, in winter 2015/2016, I was also called up when the refugee crisis reached its peak and I volunteered to register refugees in Berlin.

Army bureaucracy is famously slow. I applied in summer 2015, passed the qualifications exam in March 2016 and finally took the first module of reserve officers training at the Army Officers School in Dresden, Germany in the fall of 2017. Further training followed in 2018 and 2019 and I am currently at the sergeants rank of  Fahnenjunker. My training is scheduled to continue in the autumn of 2020.

However, just because I’m not wearing a uniform doesen’t mean I’m not working on my army career. For projects I work on in my free time, my focus lies on transferring my political communications and social media know-how to the German Bundeswehr. I consult on information warfare and publish articles on the subject in military publications.  You can find out more about that in the menu under “Work and Services”.

Below I posted some impressions of my time in uniform so far. Enjoy!

  • It all started with basic training in 2009. It wasn’t glorious…

  • …but it sometimes made for a great view. Perks of the mountain infantry. Here I am as a recruit in Hochfilzen, Austria.

  • After basic training I was posted with the bataillons heavy company. I served there from 2009-2010.

  • In 2010 I hopped in my VW and drove off. My service time was over and I started studying in the UK and South Korea. It would take six years until I would wear a uniform again.

  • In early 2016 I was called up for reserve duty during the refugee crisis. I enjoyed being back in uniform and decided to apply for reserve officer’s training.

  • In 2017 I started my reserve officer’s training at the Army Officer School in Dresden.

  • Due to work I can only serve a maximum of four weeks per year. Still, I was promoted to sergeant in 2019 and am planning to finish my officer’s training in 2021.

  • My love for the army also follows me outside of my active service time. I keep in touch with comrades and work on various military related projects on my own time, mostly combining my two passions: political communications and the military. Here I am with Major Arye Shalicar, at the time spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). We met while I was on holiday in Israel in 2016 and had a chat about communications in the military.