Army expects 800 new recruits this year

On March 8 a total 52 new recruits joined the army at the Infantry School in Alūksne, reported LTV. Latvia plans on recruiting more than 800 new soldiers to its professional army in 2017, compared to last year's 600. 

Part of the new recruits were previously civilians while about 30 had served as Youth Guards or Home Guards.

"It has interested me since I've been a teenager. I was a Youth Guard for seven years, as I'm a true Latvian patriot," said Jēkabs Olafs Rukmans, one of the new recruits.

Another recruit, Gvido Plasiņš, had left his work abroad to become a soldier.

"I am a patriot of my country. When you're abroad, you still always long for home," he said.

Four women were among the recruits. One of them, Sintija Tabūne, wants to go serve in Rēzekne near her home town Ludza in Latvia's east.

"There's potential for growth, solid income, social guarantees, the honor to serve your country; proving that women can be soldiers, too," said Sintija, explaining why she became a soldier.

According to Rihards Rozenbaums, head of the recruitment center, only four out of ten young people are found to be fit to serve. 

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