SEOUL -- BTS' leader RM has completed five weeks of basic training at South Korea's largest army boot camp. The 29-year-old started his mandatory military service with V, a 28-year-old member of the seven-member band on December 11, 2023.
In South Korea, males aged 18 and above are obligated to fulfill their military service unless exempted for valid reasons. Those enlisted in the army serve for about 18 months. RM and V joined the boot camp in Nonsan some 154 kilometers (96 miles) south of Seoul. Before their enlistment, three BTS members had already begun their service -- Jin, J-Hope, and Suga.
Along with V, RM received an award given to elite trainees on January 16 during his graduation ceremony at the Nonsan boot camp. The award states that he earned recognition as an exemplary student for demonstrating a dedicated attitude toward the country, showing respect for fellow soldiers, and fulfilling responsibilities.
The group's leader is known as the spokesperson of BTS. In September 2021, he gave a public speech at the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the K-pop phenomenon. Ahead of his enlistment, RM expressed his hope to find inspiration during his 18-month service and to share stories with fans after returning to the entertainment scene.
RM will be assigned to his unit where he will spend the rest of his time with fellow soldiers for about 16 months and three weeks. V is set to be deployed to South Korea's military police unit specializing in counter-terrorism operations and protecting high-profile individuals. After undergoing an additional three-week training related to the military police missions, he will be relocated to the "Special Duty Team" in Seoul.
Jimin and Jungkook are scheduled to graduate from their boot camp on January 17. The two singers are going through basic training at the 5th Infantry Division, a front-line infantry division in Yeoncheon some 59.5 kilometers (37 miles) north of the capital city.
Big Hit Music has earlier encouraged fans to avoid visiting boot camps for safety reasons. "In order to prevent any issues that might occur from crowding, we ask fans to please refrain from visiting the site. Instead, we ask you to keep your heartwarming words of support and farewell in your hearts," the agency said on fan community platform Weverse.
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