In South Korea, males aged 18 and above must complete their military service unless they have valid reasons for exemption. Those enlisted in the army serve for about 18 months. In most cases, enlisted army soldiers are assigned to their unit after undergoing the five-week basic training.
Among BTS members, Jin was the first BTS member to join the military in December 2022. After completing basic training, the 31-year-old became the assistant drill instructor at the 5th Infantry Division in Yeoncheon some 59.5 kilometers (37 miles) north of Seoul. The infantry division is known for tough training and military service as well as freezing weather in winter.
Jungkook and Jimin joined the boot camp at the 5th Infantry Division together on December 12. The two singers are the last members to commence military service. On December 11, the seven-member band’s leader RM and V, a member of BTS, joined South Korea's largest army boot camp, in Nonsan some 154 kilometers (96 miles) south of the capital city. The K-pop phenomenon is expected to resume its group activities in 2025 after all members finish their service.
J-hope is the second BTS member to complete his service. The 29-year-old is also fulfilling the role of an assistant drill instructor in the army. The group's lead rapper Suga became a public service agent. Unlike the majority of soldiers, public service agents are assigned to public health centers, local offices, and other government offices to offer aid to public services.
Dodging military service can significantly damage a male artist's reputation in South Korea technically at war with North Korea. Steve Yoo, a Korean-born American singer, had garnered popularity for his extraordinary dancing style and sporty image until he acquired U.S. citizenship in 2002. He has been banned from entering South Korea because of widespread criticism that he changed nationality to evade military conscription.
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