The Lone Soldier Week 14 – Raw and Rugged from Israel’s Front Lines.
So after a week of break, living like a regular civie, I wake up to the thought that we all gotta head back now. It’s like your life flips back over; you’re a soldier again. Packed up, we headed out to some park in the town of Afula for a sports day with the whole August draft of ‘kvir’. Was good fun, aside from the fact that I found myself back on base with a fractured toe. After speaking with the on-base doctor it was decided I would be staying on base ’til it got better.
Was just speaking to my mother on the phone telling her I’d be staying in my room for the next few days, when my commander burst into the room. “Get up! Get your stuff! You’re comin’ with us,” he says. I’m practically holding back from laughing, as I try explaining to him that I can barely walk and I have the doctor’s word, but he doesn’t wanna hear. I manage to get up somehow and gather my sleeping bag, gun, and whatever else, and hobble over to the bus. ‘Welcome to advanced-training,’ I remember thinking. Made me realize just how fragile we humans actually are.
After some more painful hobbling, our group finds ourselves in a big tent, where we’d be staying. We are back on our old base to do some guarding. Two hours on duty, four hours off, for the next few days; nothing too strenuous. And it was also quite funny to see the new November recruits running around like obedient little Muppets. That must’ve been exactly what we looked like four months ago. I almost felt like a war vet when they were around; these guys really looked up to us.
The weather was getting cold and finally I got my first rainy day of army experience. The rain makes the smell of our stuff in the tent a lot worse. As well as all the mud, everything’s a lot harder when the weather is bad. Lucky for me, I got outta that to be a ‘toron’ for a day. Toron is someone who gets to just do odd-jobs around the base. It’s like being a ‘jobnik’ for a day. It’s a lot less boring than just guarding and you have a fair amount of free time. So after that day I get dropped off near the shooting ranges where I hear later that day we’ll be having a seventeen kilometer march. By this time, I feel my toe has regenerated to its full strength, more or less. After a load of shooting drills at the ranges, drinkin’ a barrel of water and a quick doctor’s checkup for me, we head off walking into the late afternoon sunset and a solid breeze.
To be continued.
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]