The Lone Soldier Week 2 – Raw and rugged from Israel’s front lines.
‘Just finished my third week. So tired but can’t seem to fall sleep.
This is one of the things the army trains you, in living on minimum sleep. That, and the value of time. It’s amazing as the change in your fellows becomes apparent during these training weeks. Orders are carried out much more swiftly and with way more coordination.
At the beginning of the second week, we drove to another local base to receive our second kit bag, full of all that gear that soldiers need. Couple o’ days later we went there again to receive our guns.
It’s an interesting experience watching the Israeli Defense Force entrust a bunch of teenagers with semi-automatic machine guns. The guns are assigned a specific code which is attached to your army ID number. So, technically, you’re bound to your gun, but also in the literal sense. You take the gun everywhere you go, loo and shower!
Beginning the third week, we shoot our guns for the first time. ‘Was quite exhilarating, to be honest. I remember the moments before I took my first shot.
Gripped with a feeling of excitement and fear, my heart froze as I ever so gently squeezed the trigger…. BAM! Now, my heart racing with a most incredible adrenaline rush ever felt. Your first shot does tend to be a truly exhilarating experience. We practiced on the shooting range for quite a bit this week, as our commanders kept record on how well we shot the targets. The targets, in case you were wondering, are just pieces of paper stuck on cardboard.
Everything they teach us is generally at a fairly slow pace, to ensure everyone in the unit keeps up and is on the same level. Exercise-wise too. The army ain’t all practical war training. There are lots of lessons to attend on safety, tons of army rules, dynamics of guns, first aid, psychological stuff. They’ve started easing us into getting used to guarding. I had two half-hour shifts in the middle of the night. And you can’t just sleep through your shift like I imagined. (Funny, I dreamed moments before I was woken up for my shift that I slept through it all and then….)
Yesterday was my kita’s turn to manage the kitchens. I swear, doin’ the washing up has got to be one of the most intense things they’ve made us do, yet! It’s really not like when your Mum asks you to do it at home.
The Lone Soldier column is a weekly diary of a new recruit to the Israel Defense Forces following his time in service and beyond. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org