June 1978: recruitment center “Petit Château”

In March 1978 all necessary administrative documents for my enrolment are sent to the Ministry of Defence.
I’m candidate for an initial one year course at the Technical Training School.

End of May I received my invitation to join the selection examination at the military recruitment centre at the “Petit Château”. The exams are done in 2 days, June 15 and 16 1978.

At the same period in June, the end of year exams are done in my home school, the “Institut St Raphaël" of Sougné-Remouchamps. I have to present four exams on June 15 and 16, from which two are major courses, Mechanic and Electricity. We found an arrangement with my professors to perform the exams on other dates, to allow me to be available in Brussels on the 15th and 16th of June.

Early morning on June 15 1978, I report to the gate of the “Caserne du Petit Château”, Boulevard du Neuvième de Ligne in Brussels.


After being identified, we are split in several groups, depending the category of candidates. Certain people are not volunteers, they are called to perform their military service. Others are there for passing their selection as Temporary NCONCO, or even just for volunteering. 

Here we are, now grouped all categories together on the morning of June 15.
I’m far right in the first row. Just behind me, right, is Frédérique Hoebrechts with whom I will quickly sympathize. I'll meet him again in Beauvechain a few years later ; he will work at the E&T (*) squadron.
(*) (Electronics & Communications).


During most of day one, the candidates are tested to verify if they satisfy to the physical and medical requirements.  The medical examination failure being a “NoGo”, I'm particularly concerned by the eye exam.
The medical attendant, who check me, notice the problem with my right eye and call his superior to have his opinion. The doctor looks through the binocular and after an instant accepts my handicap and let me go to the next check. If he had refused, my military career was over already.

The second day, we went through the psycho technical exams, which where as restrictive as the medical exams. Their aim is to make sure that the candidate satisfies to the intellectual, moral and character requirements to become an NCO. In addition to these checks, the selection exams contain an interview with a psychologist, a test to determine the level of general knowledge, personality tests and written test in Mechanics and Electricity. I pass all the intellectual and technical test without major issues. Only thing to know now is if I passed the psychological test.

I leave the “Petit Château” quite confident, but all could still turn upside down depending on my results.
If I’m not in top ranking, I could be enrolled in the Navy or the Infantry, this would mean goodbye to aircraft in any case !

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