Swedish officers reported for 'force feeding' conscripts
Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 16 Feb 2010, 12:17
Published: 16 Feb 2010 12:17 GMT+01:00
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The two officers now risk an official warning for forcing the national service recruits to eat very large portions of food, as well as to drink tomato ketchup and eat packets of butter and dried spices.
The officers' superiors at the Air Combat Training School have forwarded the complaints to the Swedish Armed Forces Disciplinary Board (FPAN) and recommended that they be served with a warning over their future conduct.
The report details several occasions when the recruits were ordered to eat large quantities of food, often mixed together, and often in short periods of time. Many of the young soldiers subsequently threw up.
On one such occasion in Uppsala, the platoon was given 5-7 minutes to prepare lunch. Two soldiers were selected to prepare the food and the remainder of the platoon was ordered to stand in a line. The soldiers were then ordered to eat a meal consisting of a mix of soured yoghurt, Salisbury steak, a packet of butter and various other foodstuffs.
On another occasion, after a soldier threw up his meal in his mess portion pack he was ordered by one of the officers to eat it back up, with no relaxation of the rules. A report would follow if he failed to obey orders.
While the reporting senior officer recognised that both the lieutenant and the captain had strong qualities and were capable, ambitious officers, they were both considered to be lacking judgement and unresponsive to group feedback.
As both officers had struggled to control their behaviour with regard to the conscripts on their own volition, the commanding officer recommended that they be served with an official warning to remind them of their responsibilities.
According to the report to the disciplinary board, a third officer has also been investigated over two further incidents but no action will be taken.
Sweden operates a peace time system of national service. Legally, under the Total Defence Service Act, all Swedish citizens between the ages of 16 and 70, including those of foreign origin resident in Sweden, are liable for service, either military, civil or general.
Conscription for military service applies however in practice only to men aged 18-24 and is open to women on a voluntary basis. Most conscripts undergo military service over two periods of a total of around 11 months.