The Lone Soldier Week 9 – Raw and rugged from Israel’s front lines.
So after a Shabbos of guarding around the clock (commonly called agnam) we get back to our base to find out that we are heading up north to take part in some training operations……sweet. First we receive all our winter gear as up north its cold, then we get on the bus, arriving late at night at an army reserves base. We unload everything and take all our sleeping bags and ephods to this gigantic warehouse where we were to be staying some of the week. Just imagine sleeping on the floor of a warehouse full of about 200 soldiers with just a thin mat under you and a sleeping bag, it felt almost unreal but that’s what we did. Getting up early the next day to find out that just my kita out the whole pluga would be going in a helicopter that day, as they need us to play the part of injured soldiers in a reserves operation somewhere. I have no idea y the head of the pluga chose my kita for this but I really wasn’t complaining. Needless to say, after being dragged along the floor, carried and dumped onto the back of a truck they unload us at the helicopter pick up point. (just a tip here, when a helicopter lands or takes off the force kicks up everything around it and sends it flying, so you make sure you’re either facing the other way or your eyes and mouth are shut tight) The actual ride is fantastic, incredible views as we flew for about 10mins over the Golan, landing in another nearby base. That basically made my week even though it was only Monday. We get back to the warehouse to take another bus to the area where the operations were to be taking place.
We arrive at this gorgeous mountain top just by the grave of a great rabbi. After a quick briefing we find out we will be playing the part of the terrorists while we were to be attacked by numerous different units including oketz- a special force dog handling unit- but mainly reserves. We prepare a defensive line of stands to shoot from surrounding a small clearing with stones leaving enough space in between for the gun and the shooter to see and strategically pick off any attackers, was good fun picking up those massive stones and watching at all the hectic creatures underneath make a run for it, was just like being a kid again, kicking small stones down the mountainside. Just to clarify, we wouldn’t be using live ammo obviously, just blanks and those who didn’t receive blanks would just have to scream ‘bang bang’ again much like one would do when playing as a kid. Later on that afternoon we change into ‘American’ army uniforms and head out across the valley to the mountain opposite to await our so called attack. The commanders didn’t tell us when the attack was to come but it was apparent that it should be coming soon so we get into position. Our kita is in defensive formation but nothing happens for hours, just waiting there, by now its dark and freezing cold and we are all freezing, no one told us we’ll be out there that late, the situation was really not cool. It turns out there was some confusion in the coordination’s of the attack blah blah whatever. Our machlaka (company) regroups, everyone is freezing so they make us stand up right next to each other and sit down, we all sitting on each other but no one cares because quite frankly all we’re worried about is not catching hypothermia. The cold is bad and we are all sitting there feeling quite pathetic and vulnerable, but we laugh it off.
Now we need to get back to base.
Until next time.
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