Norwegian conscripts asked to return underwear due to supply shortages

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Norwegian conscripts will now have to return their pants, bras, and socks at the end of their military service, as the Norwegian army is experiencing stock problems, public broadcaster NRK reported on Friday.

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Until recently, it was customary for demobilised conscripts to leave their garrisons with the underwear they had been issued during their service in the army.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously complicated the flow of supplies, leading the Norwegian army last year to invite conscripts to hand over the most intimate items in their kit to their successors.

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“The decision to reuse this part of the kit, will help us have more volume in circulation and increase the delivery capacity of the equipment. We have too little in stock,” Army Logistics spokesman Hans Meisingset explained.

“The linen is washed, cleaned and checked. What we distribute is in good condition,” he said.

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A conscripts’ representative, however, criticised recurrent shortcomings that could affect operational capabilities.

“Severe shortages of equipment and clothing can potentially affect operational readiness and, in the worst case, the safety of the soldier,” Eirik Sjøhelle Eiksund told the Norwegian trade publication Forsvarets Forum.

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Guarding NATO’s northern borders from neighbouring Russia, Norway maintains a semi-mandatory military service, calling up around 8,000 boys and girls each year, selecting only the most motivated to serve in the age group.

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