The Lone Soldier Week 6 – Raw and rugged from Israel’s front lines.
It’s insane. Waking up at two in the morning, getting all your gear on and walkin’ down to some field full of ticked-off cows, and jus’ standing there for two hours. Alone, in the dark, and cold.
Makes your brain go funny.
And again doing the same thing in the middle of the afternoon in the blazing heat. Just standing there, with an M-16.
‘Course we’re all connected by radios which I quickly learned I can’t just mess around with and say what I like on them. You gotta guard an extra hour in the event of doing such things. The worst is when you’re waiting for your change after two hours and he ain’t showin’ up, and instead, a jeep pulls up with a bunch officers who give you a rubbish bag and tell you to clean the entire field.
Meantime, everyone had left. Finally, my change comes. I ran up the long road, and as I run toward the main gate, I’m just in time to see my bus leave.
They saw me ‘n stopped. So that was cool.
I arrived back at base having no shower now for a week, and no time to rest.
We all had to head down to the main sports area to practice for our “Tekes Hashba’a” (swearing-in ceremony) which in case you’re wonderin’, happened to be on ‘givat hatachmoshet’, the very next day. Darn.
This is how it went.
The whole battalion had to stand in a huge ‘chet’ shape, while their ‘rasa’, whom I previously mentioned, taught us all those moves we would get to do, like marching, standing at ease and attention, saluting, holding our gun out, and what else.
The ‘rasa’, he’s such an absolute maniac, you gotta love him. And while we’re standing there in the chet again, as I’m beginning to feel faint, the dude next to me faints on the floor, like that! Insane.
You can’t just grab a drink when you feel like it. The ‘rasa’ has got you under firm control and it seemed that the only way to get a drink was to faint.
Was considering fainting myself just for a drink. But gotta pull through. I’m not made of glass, i’n’it.
The day of the ‘Tekes’ we got up at three in the morning.
This day seemed to feel like the most intense day since my Bar Mitzvah. ‘Was being on show like that in front of all those people, that entrust the safety of the country to us.
The ceremony itself, between us ‘chayalim’, was such a laugh.
Before all the fanfare though, the ‘chayal bodeds’ (lone soldiers) had a nice little get together with some really high officials and nice food. We sure felt good about ourselves being ‘lone’ and all that. But, no time wasted, we gotta run ’cause we got a ceremony to take care of.
After the swearing-in, we get to take our guns around with us while off base, major downside is, it’s seven years in prison if you lose it.
Really no turning back now.
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: [email protected]