Guard Duty in NS: 8 Challenges Only NSFs Can Understand


Last Updated on 2023-05-25 , 5:52 pm

When serving in the army, one often finds themselves confined to camps from Mondays to Fridays, experiencing a sense of life being put on pause while friends and acquaintances move forward without them.

The unfortunate reality for many National Service (NS) personnel is the prospect of guard duty, which can disrupt their routine and social life.

In this article, we will explore some of the challenges and frustrations associated with guard duty that only Full-time National Servicemen (NSF) can truly comprehend.

Missing Out on Social Events

One of the most disheartening aspects of guard duty is observing fellow soldiers happily bidding farewell as they head home, while you remain confined to camp.

Suddenly, what should have been two days of rest and relaxation turns into a solitary day within the camp premises.

The feeling of missing out on social gatherings and spending quality time with loved ones can be particularly poignant during these moments.


Constant Alertness

During guard duty, maintaining high levels of alertness is essential due to the influx of personnel checking in and the possibility of spot checks.

While others enjoy the final hours of their weekend, guards are expected to be already inside the camp, diligently carrying out their duties.

The contrast between their limited freedom and the leisure enjoyed by others can create a sense of weariness and monotony.

Interrupted Sleep

Although guards have the opportunity to sleep during rotational breaks, the quality of sleep is often compromised.


The constant interruptions by fellow soldiers or superiors can leave one feeling perpetually fatigued, despite having slept through the entire four-hour rest period.

This lack of restful sleep further exacerbates the physical and mental strain of guard duty, making the experience even more challenging.

Long, Tedious Hours

During the four-hour rest period, guards often find themselves with nothing to occupy their time.

As a result, the passage of time seems painfully slow, intensifying the tedium of guard duty.

The prolonged hours spent on duty without meaningful activities can be mentally draining and test one’s patience and resilience.

Frequent Arm Drawings

Imagine having to retrieve your weapon every time you begin a new shift.

For those new to guard duty, this can be particularly burdensome.

The fear of making mistakes and missing rounds can be overwhelming, leading to excessive checking and rechecking throughout the entire two-hour shift.

The anxiety of being responsible for the smooth operation of guard duty adds an extra layer of pressure to an already demanding task.

Sentry Duties

While some personnel enjoy the freedom to walk and patrol, sentries are confined to their posts, diligently keeping watch.


The passage of the two-hour shift feels significantly slower when one is stationary, waiting and hoping that unexpected visits from higher-ranking officers, such as the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), will not occur during the night.

The added pressure of ensuring strict discipline, including saluting passing vehicles, further contributes to the challenges faced by sentries.

Unpredictable Inspections

The presence of higher-ranking officers, like the RSM, can be unnerving for guards.

These inspections can occur at any moment, catching guards off guard and potentially leading to additional consequences if protocols are not followed correctly.

The fear of unintentionally failing to salute their vehicles due to fatigue or distraction adds to the already stressful nature of guard duty.

Unexpected Turn Outs

Lastly, it is not uncommon for guards to wake up disoriented and hurriedly put on their gear due to unexpected announcements from their guard commander.


These abrupt turn outs can further disrupt sleep patterns

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