Image, pay draw volunteers for armed service
Nearly half the number of draftees this year volunteered to enter the military service for the welfare and image, according to deputy army spokeswoman Col Sirichan Ngathong.
She said more than 42% of young men old enough to be drafted this year applied to be conscripts.
A total of 44,797 draftees forewent the conscription lot drawing and instead registered to join the service, said Col Sirichan yesterday.
The military called up more than 500,000 men across country for the conscription, which was held from April 1 to 12. After physical and mental checks, around 104,000 were drafted by the three armed forces.
In drawing lots, those who pick a black card are exempted from conscription whereas those with red cards will be drafted for two years.
Col Sirichan said others who volunteered gave various reasons for joining the military. Some said they wanted to try out life in the barracks, mulling a military career. Others are attracted by the pay and welfare offered to conscripts.
Col Sirichan added there are also young men drawn by the image of soldiers aiding people and engaging in charity work.
The soldiers' main duty is to defend the country. However, during peacetime, they assist victims of disasters, such as floods, and respond to emergency situations.
The deputy spokeswoman said this year's conscripts are scheduled to report to their military units between May 1 and 3.
This year, about 80,000 draftees will join the army, 16,000 the navy and 8,700 the air force. Those subject to the draft this year include those born in 1997 and also those born between 1989 and 1996, who previously avoided the process for reasons such as a deferment to pursue higher education.