The Lone Soldier Week 13 – Raw and Rugged from Israel’s Front Lines.
We reach the top of the mountain at the end of the training exercise, looking at the beautiful view around us wondering how the heck we managed to get up here so fast ’til the company commander tells us to carry our ‘injured’ back down again. We reach the bottom where a stretcher is waiting and load the injured on. We’re carrying them across the field, half running, our commander not telling us ’til where, he’s just making sure we follow him. And then we start goin’ up the mountain opposite the one we’d been training on. The sun was beating down on us but none of us slagged or stumbled, we just carried on ’til the very top.
One of the most motivational thoughts that crosses my mind during the training is seeing my friend ain’t backing down so how in the world can I? As we finally finish the training drill, we look around and can see across the surrounding mountains with all the other machlakas practicing on them. It is a very cool sight. As for toilet though, in the shetach (field) one must understandably make do without a toilet in a cubicle, but choose the location wisely.
Running along the dirt path in the sunset was quite a sight, with the amount of dust we kicked up. And you’re breathing in that air. I almost vomited as we finished.
Our last day out there, they tell us we’ll be marching back to our base later on that evening. We head out once again, no torches on extremely rough terrain. You have no idea. I still remember that sick sensational burn in my legs as we climbed up this crazy steep mountainside, and then back down again, practically sliding on our backs. After a surprise training exercise we find ourselves running the last two kilometers back to base holding a dude on a stretcher.
We make it back okay. We are exhausted and we stink.
But, showering is incredible and what’s more we have now pretty much finished basic training.
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]