You’re about to enlist into Basic Military Training (BMT) or getting posted to a new unit. You’re curious if you can bring your smartphone into camp. As an ex-National Serviceman Full-Time (NSF), here’s everything you need to know!
Can I bring phones to NS camps?
Yes, you can bring your mobile phones into most NS camps. Nevertheless, remember that unauthorised in-camp photos are not allowed. Usually, phone checks are done during booking in and out. This is enforced by your commanders and the military police (MP).
There are some camps that restrict camera devices. This depends on the security levels implemented in the various camps. These are the two different types of security levels:
|Green zone||Camera devices allowed|
|Red zone||Camera devices not allowed, to be surrendered|
Red zones usually are placed in camps with sensitive military information. This could usually be the Navy or Air Force areas within the camps. Do check on your camp security zones before bringing your devices into camp!
Can I charge my phone in NS camps?
During BMT, charging your phone is not allowed. This is to teach recruits that the power sockets are not to be used as they wish. However, you can bring your own portable power bank to charge your phone. Don’t forget to bring a power bank that can last you the week!
There are still power sockets in the BMT bunks. However, they are only to be used for the issued LEARNet tablets. The power sockets are placed within a small locker in the bunk so recruits can charge them. You might be able to use this to your advantage! Charge your phone within the locker when you feel commanders are not around.
The lockers provide a good cover when you desperately need to charge your phone. You can secretly use them when your commanders are busy. However, remember to time this usage well. I do not recommend charging your devices whilst out in training as your platoon commander or sergeant major may randomly check your bunks.
After BMT, you can charge your phone in most NS camps. There are several sockets in the bunks for you to plug your devices at any time.
Can I make video calls in NS camps or Tekong?
You are not allowed to make video calls within all NS camps. It is a similar offence as taking an in-camp photo. This is restricted for camp security concerns. If you have to make a video call, you can talk to your commanders to provide a room for you to do so.
Can I bring a laptop or tablet to NS camps?
You cannot bring these devices into Tekong during BMT. Commanders will be conducting bag checks. Usage of such devices are restricted as trainers want recruits to get used to the military lifestyle. There is not much time during BMT for usage of such devices, and you will be issued a tablet for you to use anyway.
The LEARNet tablets will be issued for online learning. It is a small laptop used for BMT lessons and quizzes. They are mostly used during your administrative time. You can surf the internet on it, however many websites are blocked. These restrictions will last until you have graduated BMT!
Outside of BMT, you can bring your tablets and laptops to most NS camps. This is only when you are posted into your new unit. Do double-check with your unit commanders. Some units still restrict these devices due to the security zones as shown above.
Another thing to take note, storage devices are not allowed into camps. Storage devices generally refer to any hard drives such as thumb drives. It is not allowed as sensitive military information may be transferred within these hard drives. Usually, there is a specific thumb drive the office personnel uses whenever transfer of documents is necessary. It is treated like military equipment in which they need to keep track of.
Can I bring a Nintendo Switch to NS camps?
Commanders generally do not allow these gaming devices while in BMT. This is to train recruits to use their time wisely. There will be bag checks as you book in and out of Tekong. From my experience, there is little free time in BMT to play any games. Bringing a Nintendo Switch would just be extra weight to book in and out with.
Similar to the laptops and tablets, more leeway is given once you are in a unit. You can bring your Nintendo Switch into your unit camp as long as you use it at an appropriate time. Unit life generally involves a lot of time doing nothing. Having a gaming device would be a great idea to pass time!
There are differing restrictions for each camp. Remember to check with your unit commanders on these rules. Oftentimes, the higher-ups enact a red zone onto units as punishment for in-camp photos found. If one soldier gets punished, everyone else usually suffers.
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