Eight hundred newly-recruited soldiers for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and their families gathered at Olympic Stadium yesterday morning for an official ceremony marking their departure from the capital for military training in Kampong Speu and Oddar Meanchey provinces.
The ceremony was presided over by Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in Phnom Penh, General Prum Din, and Phnom Penh municipal governor Kep Chuktema.
“To protect our land we must have a strong army. To have a strong army we must have brave youth. To have a brave youth we must have volunteers and training,” Kep Chuktema said.
General Prum Din told those gathered that 500 soldiers would be sent to the Pich Nil military base in Kampong Speu province and the remaining 300 would go to Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district to receive training from senior RCAF soldiers.
Both groups, he added, were being sent to replace soldiers who had retired, become disabled or died.
RCAF soldier Heng Chansophal, 20, from Chamkarmon district, said he had decided to join the military because he had always wanted to be a soldier.
“My father was a soldier who died in 1991 and I have always wanted to be a soldier,” he said. “I want to serve my nation. I have told my mother and siblings since I was a child that one day I would become a soldier. Now my dream has come true.”
Heng Chansophal’s uncle, 44-year-old Nuth Sovann, said he was happy to see his nephew become a soldier.
“It is [Chansophal’s] right to be a soldier because his father used to be a soldier. Many of my relatives are in the military so it is alright with us that he is a soldier,” he said.