Norwegian Military Members Required to Return Underwear for Reuse By New Recruits

Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Conscripts in the Norwegian Armed Forces have been ordered to return all aspects of their uniform at the end of their service, including undergarments, so they can be reused by new recruits.

Norwegian soldiers lying on their stomachs in the grass
Photo Credit: Leon Neal / Getty Images

The decision is the result of supply chain issues, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as contracts, finances and other issues. Speaking with local media on January 11, 2022, the Norwegian Defense Logistics Organization stated it was “a challenging stockpile situation” and that the “move is necessary, as it provides the Armed Forces with greater garment volumes available for new soldiers starting their initial service.”

The practice was introduced last year as a voluntary measure and has now become mandatory for all service members. Until recently, conscripts were required to return their outer garments at the end of their service, but were allowed to keep such personal items as t-shirts, field boots, undergarments and headgear.

They are now required to return all items, including bras, woolen socks and underwear.

Norwegian soldiers standing with their hands behind their backs
Photo Credit: FREDRIK HAGEN / NTB / AFP / Getty Images

The garments will be washed, dried and checked for quality, with any defective or worn items thrown away. Norwegian military spokesperson Hans Meisingset said that with “the proper checks and cleaning, the reuse of garments is considered an adequate and sound practice.”

Eirik Sjøhelle Eiksund, a defense union spokesperson, said such shortages were nothing new for the Armed Forces, and added that “severe shortages of equipment and clothing can potentially affect operational readiness and, in the worst case, the safety of the soldier.”

In June 2020, service members were missing a third of the equipment and clothing issued to them.

Three Norwegian soldiers running in a field
Photo Credit: Leon Neal / Getty Images

More from us: Bill Aims to End ‘Pink Tax’ for Female Soldiers Buying Uniforms

Military service is a mandatory requirement for both men and women in Norway. It typically lasts between 12 and 19 months, with around 8,000 completing their service each year.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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