Sunday, December 19, 2010

Krav Maga Final Act

The final act of Krav Maga for our training is our hardest on as well. Each person has two parts to his act. The first part is to be a warrior inside to fight one whose act it is ongoing, the second part is the act it’s self. In the building there are 4 warriors, one warrior wielding a knife, and one with a bat. There are also all the Krav Maga, and Terror instructors as well as the officer who runs the section, as well as our Platoon Sergeants and Team Leaders. I started as knife, to be specific. This means every time Adam (The officer who developed the act 15 years ago and comes back to run it every year) calls out knife I run in and attack, stabbing repeatedly until subdued.
After four rounds of knife I got to step out and drink water and rest and then I went in for four rounds as a warrior. The first person to go in we tore apart and within 2 minutes Adam had thrown him out by grabbing his padding and effortlessly hauling him to the door and throwing him out. The second person in was heading to the course to become a Terror instructor the next day, and was rated number 2 in all Israel for MMA. He was no push over to fight, and the third person to enter was the same except for the MMA rating. The fourth person to enter was an easier fight, but by this point I was tiring out from the repeated combat and thus, took some punches in addition to the ones I was giving.
After my round as a warrior I de-padded and went outside to rest. After another two rounds of 4 it came to my round. I was to be second in the round to go. The first person started and then I began to warm up, and clear my mind. The first part of the act is a sprint from the Krav Maga building to the base’s gate and back which one needs to run in under 3 minutes to receive the 3 points. It’s either 3 minutes or less and 3 points or nothing. So as I stood on the start line I cleared all thoughts from my mind and concentrated on only the run, then I heard 3 … 2 … 1 … go! Off I went pouring all my guts into the sprint and trying to milk very second out of the downhill I had to the gate. Back I kept pushing and when I got to the last 100 meters I began to sprint and then before me was the building and the “crowd” I would have to pass. The second part of the act is punching through a crowd immediately after the sprint. So with all the momentum of the sprint I went straight in and fairly easily popping out the other end. From there I ran to the entrance to the building where someone waited me with a punching bag pillow and I began to punch away. On both sides of me now were an instructor and they began to punch away at me, in the stomach. As I worked on the sack they worked on me and began to shout at me “ask for it harder” so I did I boy did I get it, the instructor on my right who looks like he has been taking steroids since age 2 wound up and wham. But I kept going at my sack and a few seconds later I was sent inside to pad up. Once inside there are members of my team who pad me up and then I was ready for the 4th and hardest part of the act.
From the moment I got the order to go it 22 minutes began to tick backwards. For the next 22 minutes I would fight like a maniac and give my all to the punching bag. The moment I ran into the center of the building one of the warriors pounced on me. This was the same person who had been thrown out when I was a warrior previously and I dominated him pinning him to the wall and raining upon him blows. From here on I had no conception of time only a continuity of actions I performed. After my first fight I was sent to the punching bag to work on it and then the team member who had gone in before me was sent in to fight me and from that sparing session Adam sent in the bat, and then the knife, and then more time on the bag. For the next couple minutes things become a blur of sparing one on one, or two on one, with knives and bats as a break, with in between time on the punching bag. Then out of nowhere I begin to take blows from all sides I don’t even realize what is happening of the first few seconds till I realize the officer of the Krav Maga/Terror section is pouring out on to me blows. So while I was already at the point of exhaustion I began to give back blows, a knee there and a swing there. I even succeeded to push him back towards the back wall before he retaliates and I am spinning/flying halfway across the small room to land on my back. Under a rain of his blows I get back on my feet and start to give back again.
When Nitzan (The officer) backs down I am sent back to the punching bag and then in comes the next person from my team. Emanuel, no small man; he is mostly muscle and probably the strongest person in my team. He also received best soldier for the Krav Maga final. So while I work on the bag he comes in and in no time we are sent to fight each other, then a knife comes at me, and then Emanuel again, then bat. This goes on for another repetition or two and then all 4 warriors are sent in on me. By this point I have been in 21 straight minutes of combat, can barley lift my arms, and am running on nothing more than pure adrenaline. For the next minute while I take blows from four people I feel none of it, none at all. While I try and fight back they succeed by pure force of mass to push me into a corner and while I can’t get out I just keep giving back blows. Then after what feels like hours and an eternity Adam shouts out to me “STOP, remove padding.” Done, finished, no more. I remove my padding with a lot of help and as I walk out, I realize I am sacred of myself because I just enjoyed what I did. I just found the experience of beating another person, or person’s, fun.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Airborne School

This past week I received my airborne wings. Two weeks ago my entire company picked up and went to airborne school. On arrival we were in processed and splint into “sticks” of about ten soldiers each. Each “stick” had an instructor assigned to it. The first thing that struck us was the level of discipline in the course. The IDF is famous for its lack of discipline within its ranks, and the pinnacle of this the Golani Brigade (my brigade). I am not sure the course was ready for the shock it was about to get. We were instantly upset over the requirement for us to polish our boots both in the morning, and in the afternoon. Walking in formation, we were simply incapable; keeping quite …that was a joke. But we trained anyways.

We stated with how to perform a proper roll, first left and right then forwards and backwards. This involved us falling on our ass a lot in a large sand box. It was quite painful, especially when we missed our shoulder muscles and fell on our sides. From there we moved on to the harness, how to get in it and how to jump out of the plane its self. We also covered what happens while we are in the plane. While the instructors demonstrated we were dying of laughter from the tune all our instructors used. They use high pitched, almost shrill sing song tune for all the commands and we just could not keep from laughing. But when we got to the towers this began to change.

This first tower is nothing it’s a meter off the ground and used simply to practice exiting the plane, and drills done while in the air. The next tower we used was less fun, it is 4.5 meters tall or 14 feet tall. Here we strap into our harness climb up on to the walkway and up top attach the towers straps to our harness. The idea is the tower acts like our parachute when we jump and then will hold us off the ground in a swinging motion so we can also practice the landing. This tower in Hebrew is called the “"מאמן (mamen – meaning trainer), but we all affectionately referred to it as the "מאשיך" (mashech- puller) because when hooked up to the straps it attempts to yank one clean off the tower. Now jumping off this tower is far harder to do than jumping of a real plane, as you spend a good ten minutes up top just contemplating the height, and when you are finally hooked in you feel like any second the straps are going to pull you off the tower and throw you spinning off into thin air. The worst part really is when they drop us right on our ass. They leave you swinging in the landing position for several long seconds, as we try and predict when they are going to drop us so we can try and roll properly. What always happens though is they drop you and you fall right on your butt or sides in the most painful way possible, and are then yelled at on how we are a total failure at life and are going to die when we jump. The last tower thee is 9 meters or 30 feet tall. Here one practices exiting a plane, and also deploying reserve chutes. This tower works by having you jump from the tower and then your straps are attached to a zip line which keeps you in the air like a chute will.

After a week of training on all these towers we finally finished up and were off to the real thing! We traveled to the air force base where we were to take off from. There we lined up by doors, and laid out our parachutes and sat down waiting to get the order to put them on. We were all nervous though as we were the last plane, and the day was fast fading. Finally the order came down to put on our harnesses, and we began to strap up and get checked off. Finally our plane came back and as it touched down and rolled towards us, we got lined up and were marched to the back door and in we were loaded. I was in the first stick set to jump out of the right door and within ten minutes we were over the drop zone, which was at Palmach, a beach. The door we were set to jump from would have me at jumping towards the ocean. So as we came in we got the order to stand up, and got a final check off. Then came the red light, and the first soldier entered the door and got ready. Then came the green light, and the first soldier got the order “קפוץ!” (kfotz – meaning jump!) and as he jumped, then next soldier already threw his strap to the instructor and was in the door and out then, all in 1.5 seconds. Real quickly it was my turn and I too threw my strap, the instructor grabbed it, checked by stance in the door, and tapped my soldier and yelled “קפוץ!!! and I hesitated for a moment so they shouted at me again, and what happened next I am not sure. I remember wanting to jump, and the next thing I remember I was outside the plane. When you exit the plane you experience three seconds of absolute thrilling, free fall. When you leave the plane the first thing that happens is your legs kick up from the propeller back blast. Then as you keep your hands on you reserve shoot and count to three you keep falling. At three you feel a sharp tug as the chute opens and deploys, and when I looked up I saw the most beautiful sight of my life a full canopy over my head. Then I looked around me and saw the view, and it was stunning! A setting sun, a string of other paratroopers before me, and absolute silence around me; I just had to let out a shout of absolute thrill. Then as the ground got closer, I got into the landing position and kept trying to guess when I would land, and then bam! It was a slight shock, but I still succeeded to do something similar to a roll. We were lucky with our jump we really jumped at the last possible second.

The next day we were scheduled to jump first, and we were pumped. We spent far less time sitting around, and got strapped in. In no time we were marching to the plane and getting onto the runway. As we were coming over the drop zone our plane began to sing songs from our unit, which really helped to release the tension a bit. This time I was last in my stick and was the middle stick. So as we came back over the jump zone for the second time I was standing with the rest of the guys and ready to go. As I got to the door I got my order “קפוץ!!!” and out I went. This time jumping from the left door and looking out at Israel I got a great view, again. I actually had a few twists in my chords for my chute, but I quickly straightened them out with a few kicks. This time the landing was easier as I could judge the approaching ground far better. As I folded my chute up and placed it on my back I knew I would have to do this again, the thrill, the adrenaline, the view was simply too much to pass up on; and when I finally went home at the end of the week I felt as if my chest was sticking out 2 feet farther with the pin on my chest.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Micro Warfare Prep

As a note on this post I am intentional vague on many topics here as I am not sure publishing exact special urban warfare tactics is a good idea. There are many tactics here which are known as the world’s best and other military's come to train on them here.

This week we began preparation to start training for Lochamie Zeira or in English micro warfare. For this we underwent what was our hardest week yet. We spent the week under the instruction of our krav maga and Terror madrichim or instructors. Terror instructors are the ones who teach us the tactics involved in micro warfare, as well as the special style of shooting, and the shooting stance that go along with it. This style of warfare is used in Urban environments and in close quarters. The idea behind it is at 10 meters a terrorist in motion will not stop with a single round to the chest so we learn how to quickly get into a steady and strong position, get on target without having to aim, and to fire 5 rounds all on target. This is not something one can learn in a day in fact we spent 4 days straight in the shooting ranges to learn how, and my team shot 17,000 rounds that’s about 1000 rounds each. To give you an idea on how much ammunition that is about 35 full magazines. The number of magazines each soldier is issued for war is only 6. (Don’t worry if I go to war I will have far more than that with me.)

To get to the end state of 5 rounds on target in high stress environment we started basic. One round at a time each round getting into the proper firing stance, brining the weapon up and “stabbing” the target (to get on target without having to aim, as that takes extra time) and shooting. The object here is a good stance, fast, and accurate. From this we move to two rounds at a time then three, then fur and five. Then we start to mix it up, we bring in the kneeling position as well. We then brining in how to switch magazines in the middle of shooting. (All shooting here is done with a tzolevet which is two magazines attached together.) Once we have all this down pat we start to add in shooting after sprints to simulate shooting while under pressure, and finally we do all this while wearing bullet proof vests.

Now what makes this week so hard is not just how much we shoot but the discipline. All week long it’s the same discipline I discussed in my previous post on Krav Maga ( “Adam did you just scratch yourself?” “Yes.” “Matzav Shtayim (up pushup position) everyone.” This was no fun as griping your rifle tightly for hours on end, days on end begins to eat away ones palms; push ups on gravel and thorns is similar to placing ones hands on fire. Also there is “nine, Shmuel were your ankles together?” “No” “One!” A common punishment is 10 perfect push-ups, as I explained previously, and if one guy does one push up wrong its back to one.

Now when the sunset and we packed up the shooting ranges we switched over to krav maga (I could not participate though because of my surgery) and Terror lessons. Terror lessons are started the same way a krav maga lesson, except we have 7 minutes to be standing ready. These lessons are dry practices of the shooting positions used in micro warfare, as well as changing positions, weapon jams, changing magazines, charging after a fleeing target, and moving from a run to s steady shooting position. We have also began to practice clearing corners and openings.

Now all this preparation will be put to work next week as we start micro warfare training in an urban warfare training center. We will start with drills on an individual level and move to fire team, then squad, and from there to team.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Krav Maga

I need to preface this post by saying there is some language used in this post which while may seem filthy it is simply the language and terms used in the army. I want to give over as real an experience as possible so I kept the words in.

Till now I have not really touched upon a central portion of our training, Krav Maga. What does it entail, what it means for our daily life in the army, and how it affects us. In short Krav Maga touches every second of every day we are in the army. Krav Maga is not a class we receive an hour and show up to, it is a class we are jumped for. Jumped means the instructor shows up and tells us “חמש דקות קרב מגא“ which in English is “5 minutes Krav Maga.” At this point every one breaks into a sprint and starts to scream this sentence over and over again. Because of this we always have our stuff ready, ready to be jumped, it can happen at 0400, or while you are all butt naked in the shower.

In these 5 minutes we have to o the following: Everyone has to be wearing an all black t-shirt, combat uniform pants, belt buckle off to the side, running shoes, no rubber bands (In the IDF instead of tucking ones pants into the boot we instead tuck them under rubber bands sitting right above the boots so in combat the pants can easily be pushed up to get a t a wound instead of having to tug them out of the boot.) We each also need both of our canteens filled with us. The team as a whole has to also bring an open stretcher, a medic’s vest and a helmet, and finally the water pack. All this has to be in the center of a chet – literally a Hebrew letter which is shaped with a flat top and two even legs, but here it simply refers to the shape of the letter. We, the soldiers in the team, make up the chet with our canteens between our feet, and must count the last 10 seconds of the time. At the end of the time we all must be dressed properly, with two full canteens between our feet, and in the fighting stance.

Now what happens if we are not? Matzav Shtayim, The front leaning rest, also known as the upright push up position. From there we have to pay on our “fuck.” Now to pay we first have to fix our “fuck” by getting everyone in the right uniform, and with all their equipment, at the right place. This is done by one by on each person in order in the chet getting up fixing himself and then returning to matzav shtayim in the chet. The longer this takes the harder it will be to pay for our “fuck” For if this were just matzav shtayim it would not be so bad but they make us perform a push up every 2 seconds, wearing us out faster. Once we are all ray we must perform 10 perfect push ups to the instructors cadence. Perfect means the chest touches the ground, the heels are touching the whole time and the body remains straight. Should one person screw up, once we start from the beginning. If we can not get to 10 we will keep going till the instructor decides to punish us in another way, be it sprint to the base gate hit and return, in 3 minutes, or half the team is carrying the other half the team over their shoulders and we o the same sprint but in 4 and a half minutes. This is just a small taste of the hazing tools at their use, there is no shortage trust me.
So we stood on time and ready, now what? We warm up an start our lesson. Our natural position for the lesson is known as “kir” which in English means wall. This means when we hear kir we all sprint to the designate area an begin to fight for a spot attempting to get as close to the left side as possible, but still remaining on the thin line of the kir. We fight like this till the instructor stops us an tells us to organize the wall an face him. After we warm up we go to the kir, and from there we get 3 minutes to have everyone on pads. The thing with the pads is they can never touch the ground when not on us. One of the worst hazing I ever experience was when we let a pad touch the ground. Once on pads we start with aggression drills. Everyone makes a circle and the guy in the mile must fight out, 8 guys lay on the ground and link arms the rest must pull them outside the box, and on and on. When we screw an perform a “fuck,” such as wiping sweat or moving perform we receive the command to move, its back to matzav shtayim. Now if we really annoy the instructor he will tell us to tense stomach muscles and close our eyes. Then as we do a push up every 2 seconds he hands out swift kicks to the stomach, nothing like coming up from a push up, just barely as you are exhausted to the bone, and boom a boot and all the air goes out. This all encompass only about the first 45 minutes of each lesson, and a lesson is usually 2 hours. This is relly only a taste but for the whole experience there is just not the words.

I know this post is a bit long but I hope I have seceded in passing along a bit of what Krav Maga is to us and what it means to us, and if by mistake you thought Krav Maga occurs only once in a while you are wrong. Every week we go through this, always waiting always ready.

Friday, July 30, 2010

War Week

This past week was War week, on of the hardest weeks a combat soldier must pas in the IDF to be certified as a combat soldier. but to fully explain this week I have to back up to the thursday prior to this past week. This fateful Thursday we steped off on our 70 kilometer foot march. We began at exactly 1855 and went straight on till 1035 Friday morning. The first hour of the march though made all the suffering worth it, every little bit of the pain. On our left side rose the Hermon mountain and the peaks of the Golan Heights, all shaded in rosy red shadows of a setting sun. While on our right side spread out the Hula valley and beyond it rose the Ramim mountain range, glowing ruby red from the setting sun hovering and slowly setting over its peaks. This view was one of the most stunning paintings I have ever seen god la out before me, it was a moment no artist or photographer could ever capture in its totality. But this work of art slowly faded as the sun finished to set and all I had left was 64 more kilometers of my land to learn with my feet.

When we did finally finish this march I was barely able to stand on my own feet the pain was so bad. I had worn large portions of skin from my feet and my legs muscles were tight and burning, but I had finished this march and had the 90k march to look forward to.

We closed shabbat on base and Saturday Night we began to prepare for War Week. From getting our ruck sacks ready to filling Jerry Cans and camel packs, and cramming those extra uniforms into the bag. Sunday morning we got our pre-mission brief for the first part of the week. We were tasked to carry out a raid on a simulated enemy base, which would be populated with live soldiers playing OPFOR (opposing forces). My Team was going to slowly move up to the perimeter place 3rd squad as cover from far, cross the inner road and place 1st squad as a close cover, and then 2nd squad (my squad) was to raid the offices for documents and kill all officers located in the building. That afternoon we finished packing our gear ate our last real meal for the week (a pretty decent meat dinner) and then sat down for a pre-mission run down by the Company Commander. He picked our brain onwhat each one of us was to do and where we would be at each moment and where each of our friends will be, and where we will be located, and on and on and on. After this finished we had 10 minutes gear on the bus and off we went.

Midnight we are in the Golan heights with vests, bags, and gear all on and ready to move out. We started our movement of 13 kilometers to the target. 13k may not seem to much but when you are carrying almost 40k that's a lot its more than half my body weight. We hauled ass and at 0330 we are in place to breach the "enemy" outpost. We set up a 360 degree security and the commanders set up a quick observation point. We had a problem there was a perimeter fence, which had not been expected. We had to back track and go around to find a hole in the fence which we did by 0430 and got into the base its self, but now we were on the wrong side of the base. By the time we could get to the other side it would be too light so we laid up and got ready for day combat. At 0530 we got back in movement and by 0730 we got to our next mission. We had to capture a "Syrian" hill post in a straight to live fire exercise. We did this by laying down cover fire from 3rd squad while 1st and 2nd maneuvered in close. Then 1st squad bounded up and charged the first position while second squad maneuvered behind them and when 1st squad had the position in their hands they laid down cover fire for us while we did a flanking maneuver on the second hill top. It was a fun exercise and our light machine gunner had some fun playing the Negev (The light machine gun used by the IDF produced by IMI). Playing the Negev is playing out a musical beat with bursts of fire, it is one of the coller things to hear and adds some fun to an Infantry exercise. By 0830 we had moved on and remained in movement till 1200 when we set up waiting positions, ate, prayed and caught a few hours of sleep. (our first since 0630 Sunday 29.5 hours ago).

At 1700 we moved out to get a water and ammo resupply. We filled back on water, ammo, and picked up several L.A.W. (Light Anti-Tank Weapon) rockets. From there we did a qick half hour movement to our next infantry drill on another "Syrian" position We did a dry run in day and night an at 2300 we moved out. We had one wounded on a stretcher and another being carried fireman style. This torture lasted till 0200 on Tuesday morning. We were finallly able to put down the wounded and were given a short 1.5 hours of sleep. We then received our next mission and started planing our next raid. Same layout as the first just a shorter trip there. We arrive, sneak in and as we hit the building the OPFOR opens up on us, and we responded secured the building and had the other 2 squads back us up. from there we did 5k with a wounded soldier on stretcher and at 0800 we settled in to waiting positions. We stayed on till 1800 when we had a full water and food resupply. The food was really not needed we were barley given any to eat at all and we just ended carrying lots of extra weight.

We kept up our movement till 0200 Wednesday morning when we stopped to load up the Orev (TOW II missle system). My squad leader was so gracious as to load the 1 kilo gas cable in his bag and the 10.5 kilo gas canister in my bag giving me a weight total of over 50 kilos on me, or 2/3 of my body weight. From there we set out on a 3 k straight away and then one hell of a climb up Mt. Hermoniah. There we had some of the fiercest wind I have ever felt in my life. We set up the system and built a wind breaker from the ruck sacks for the 3 guys on guard duty. Every one else went inside some concrete bunkers located next to us, there the wind was slightly less strong and only a bit above manageable. We reamined in this position till 0900 when we packed our gear up and moved out again with one wounded on a stretcher and one carried fireman style. This was getting to be a challenge though as almost every soldier had about 30-50 kilo's on his back already. When we about 200 meters into the march back a grenade seem to just jump out of the ground before me and spew white smoke. but this was no ordinary smoke it was a tear gas grenade and then out poped the company commander from a bunker and he threw another grenade and we all split. Because of the wind the gas dissipated quickly so we returned to formation, put on gas masks and kept going. We were almost at the end, about 800 meters, but one of the guys in the tzevet clean passed out, collapsed. We evacuated him and finnished up to the bus.

The bus brought us back to the area around shetach 100 (our current base) there we set up another waiting point till night. Our waiting point was located next to an orchard and sitting on a tree before me the whole time was a huge red pomegranate and for some reason I thought it was just a beautiful sight. I think it had to do with being so hungry. From this point we did a dry and then live fire exercise on Mount Ayelet which rises to 442 meters. from there we took one wounded solider via the fireman carry to a rally point about 2 kilometers away. There at 0430 Thursday we loaded our bags and spare gear on to a truck and with a single stretcher and our vest formed up. They placed a single wounded soldier on the stretcher and then point to mount Eveyatar (852 meters) behind us and said 2.5 hours go. This was no easy climb but it was a satisfying one. At some points the slope gets to be as steep as 40-50 degrees and we had to have solders pushing and pulling the stretcher just to move a meter or two. But we persevered on and at 0930 we finished the climb and walk to the bus and got back to the base, Shavuah Milchamah (War week) done.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Anti-Tank Course

So finally it has come the course which defines what we do. With in the Gadsar (Recon Battalion) of every Infantry brigade in the IDF there are three companies. The Palsar (Reconnaissance), the Orev (Anti-Tank), and the Chan (Explosives). I am in the Orev company, and this week we finally began the course for the Orev missile. The course is a 4 week intensive course of both classroom and field study on the TOW II anti-tank missile.

In the course we first of all interact less with our commanders, and more with the instructors, all women. That is a real plus for most of us as our previous base was male only. The course also means we are now officially members of the company and can now make use of its symbol. This means we can now produce tzevet (SF Team) shirts and hats. Now that we have gotten to the course we also have begun to learn the songs associated with the unit. While I would like to write more I am frankly exhausted and want to end with a few words from one of our songs ...

"Ha-Orev sheli Orev,
V'Hagav Sheli Koev"

" My Orev in an Orev
And My back Hurts"

Israel is the only country to make habitual use of the soldiers back to transport this missile system, and this system is heavy. A missile is 30k, and the total system weight is 120k with only 1 missile! So Now you understand a bit better why we are a select unit. Its not odd for us to carry 75-80% of body weight when in full comabt gear.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A few weeks ago we began our first week of navigation's. We started by learning map reading, and the basic terrain features. From there we moved on to actually seeing the features in the field an then we moved onto doing actual navigation's on our own.

In the states soldiers are taught how to read a map, find where you are on the map and to polt their points and move from place to place via the map. In Israel we learn to do the same only with no map. Each soldier learns how to build a route an then how to memorize the route. This metho is actually far superior for one reason, you really learn the terrain and field so the actual navigation its self feels like you have already done it. Because I know I will have no map our path map to guide me I learn the terrain own to her smallest details, the boundaries of my area and the features which will help me identify I have arrived at each of my locations. By the time one reaches the field to perform the navigation you feel like you have already done the who navigation and all that remains is to walk it. This method is also far more operationally effective. Because soldiers are able to operate maps they can be sent with out them to minimize loss of sensitive data should the team fall into enemy hands, and it also means the team is far more flexible as they are capable of self adjusting with out having to consult a map because they are already familiar with the entire area.

Over the course of my training I will have another 12 weeks of navigation. In the coming weeks we will kove to exclusively night navigation's, and to eventually doing all navigation's alone. As the weeks go on we will also see an increase in weight with weights approaching 60 kilos or 130 pounds. My body weight is just below 170 pounds. This means over 75% of my body weight will be going along with me for over 30-40 kilometers. They say our physical limit is far beyond what we believe it to be, and these navigation's seem to me a great way of proving to me this will be true.

The bright sie of all these navigation's is I will essentaily see all of Israel, all of it. Except for Tel Aviv perhaps because there is just not enough open land there to navigate. From the mountains over looking eilat, to the moutains separating Israel from Lebanon I will walk every inch of it. I will familiarize my self with every rock and tree. I will learn here curves and swells the way a husband learns his wife. I will learn to love this land by walking her every inch, and seeing her every beauty. They will be no secret place I will not see, and there will be no inch i will not tread. To me this is the beauty of all our Navigation's. Its the reason why we fight so hard for our land. Its the reason we tell Obama to Fuck off when he tries to tell us what to do in Jerusalem. Its the reason why we have defeated our foes at every advance they have made, and its the reason we will remain here for a long, long , long time to come. We will stay because we are connected, each footstep I will take over theses navigation's will be in the foot prints of my fathers and their, fathers, going back thousands of year. Going back before America came to be, before Christianity's existence, and before Europe was civilized. This is why we will remain and why we can continue to be. This is what Obama and Europe fail to see, we will be here after you are dead and your nation a ruinous waste.

Historians and political scientists often talk of how America nd Europe tend to see the world in very short terms these days while the rest of the world takes a longer view. I believe this to be especially prevalent in Israel. I believe Obama is seriously frustrated with Israel partly because we simply do not take him seriously, at all, period. Israeli's laugh at his serious lack of reality or his lack of all concept of what is really going on in the middle east. The idea those who hate all the West stands for will simply stop hating and killing because Obama extends a hand is so ridiculous only a some one snorting cocaine could buy into it, oh wait, yeah I forgot its Obama. I am often asked by Israeli's questions like "Is Obama crazy or just high?" I believe history will judge Obama very poorly when it comes to his foreign relations. While you may say oh but the world likes us more, well whoop de dah. What makes France happy has nothing to do with what is good for America or her interests. So while I do my next set of navigation's I an take some more hours and think on just how America got to be so Stupid we elected the Dunce of a President we have now. The good news is some one has woken up only 39% of America approves of Obama and dropping. I thank god every day I am in a country run by Bibi, the man served in the best SF unit in Israel and probably the world, He is MIT educated and did not get there or his grades with any help, and he understands the Middle East and the world. Its too bad America does not have a Bibi lying around.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Memorial Day

This past Monday was the Israeli memorial day. The Golani brigade, which I ma a member of, sends two soldiers to each grave of a fallen soldier, no matter how he fell. On Sunday night we had a base wide ceremony to memorialize all the soldiers who have fallen in both the Golani brigade and the IDF as a whole. After placing the flag at half staff the order of the day was published and then several soldiers from Golani were selected out to be memorialized and mixed with poetry, and songs about loss. After the ceremony soldiers being dispatched to graves were informed and I was unfortunately not one of them. So we went to bed.

0420 wake up and 10 minutes to dress and clean up. After we began to clean and pack up our rooms, and it was there my friend approached me. He asked me to take his spot at one of the graves so he could attend a ceremony at his High School he had been asked to attended. His grave site was located in Netanya, and I agreed. When I came back to my squad and mentioned what happened one of my squad members asked to switch with me as he lived near Netanyah, so I was no heading to Herzaliyah. Now as we formed up top leave and were told the bus divisions, they also asked for 2 volunteers for graves on Har Hertzel in Jerusalem. My friend in my tzevet volunteered and I switched, yet again, with him as he lived closer to Herzaliyah than Jerusalem. So while at 0430 I was not assigned any grave at 0600 I had switched 3 times.

At 0630 we headed out by bus to Har Hertzel, the Israeli military cemetery located in central Jerusalem. at 0830 we arrived and me and the soldier going with me found the assigned grave. We then went found a bakery eat our fisrst food of the day and at 0900 we headed back. At 0930 we were back at the grave, sleeves down and beret on the head. There we met the family who had arrived by then as well and introduced ourselves as well. We remained at the grave side with the family till the ceremony began at 1050. At 1050 the ceremony began and at 1100 the siren went off all across Israel. When the siren goes of in Israel, it goes off across all of Israel and everything stops. Traffic, pedestrians, stores, and life as a whole, and everyone stands in a minute of silent.

It is real moving to stand with a mourning family on memorial day in our nation. In Israel there is practicaly no one who does not know some one who has fallen in defense of the nation. I being a new citizen do not personally know someone, so it felt really good do do my part in honoring those who have fallen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A week of Action

Since I last was let out of the army 3 weeks have passed, and I can say some of the most influencial weeks of my army career to date. A week and a half ago we had our Infantry level 05 certification test. 05 certification means we are a basically trained Infatry man, with a basic level of combat fitness and a basic grasp of the weapons systems, as well as how to treat wounded, operate a radio, and react to a NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) attack.

The Test opens with the Bochan Maslul, a grueling obstacle course run in full combat uniform, helmet on the head, and a full infantry vest and rifle. The Course opens with a 600 meter run, and as one finishes the run you get to the obstacles themselves. The first obstacle is the wall, and after that there are parallel bars, monkey bars, a rope, crawling, balance beams, and more. The obstacle finish with a 10 meter crawl an then you have a 500 meter dash to the finish. The last 200 meters or so are also up hill. Total the course is 1500 meters and no easy feat. To pass it for a rating of 05 one needs to run it in under 11:00, for 07 rating (which we will have after advanced training) we will need to run a 10:30, for the unit requirements and to move on the the SF basic training we must run under a 9:30. In practices till this point I had run at best a 9:20, but on that morning I opened up with a hard sprint and put my guts into it and finished with a solid 8:29. I can honestly say at West Point we had the IOCT, and I would rather run the IOCT any day then the Bochan Maslul. From there we went to the testing on Infatry skills, and weapons systems. At each station here I received a 100%. Last wasthe shooting test. The test opens witha 200 meter sprint then one turns around, crawls 10 meters, runs 190 meters back to the rnage and enters the range. In the range one removes the empty magazine in his weapon, places in one with 6 round and then shoots at a target 40 meters away. One shoots 3 in the kneeling position, and 3 in the prone position. I do not know the results on this test yet but I know the 3 I shot prone all hit and to pass is 4/6 so I am not to worried.

From this point on in my post I must inform you due to security concerns I am going to have to leave out or alter information.

After taking our certification tests the entire Plugah (Company) packed up and went to the Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) to guard settelments. The group of soldiers I was placed with was assigned to guard a string of small hilltop settlements just above and south of Shchem (Nablus). We arrived Thursday afternoon and we were familiarized with the area. We had to static guard positions. One we will call A5 and the Second A8. We also conducted a night time patrol in one of the settlements and this we will call Patrol A. My first guard duty was on Patrol A from 2000 to 0100. I had the radio in my vest, which sucks because the radio weighs 20 pounds, and over the radio 10 minutes into my guard shift I hear one of the tazpitot (girls who watch the cameras placed in the area and report movement or activity) report in she has two terrorists en route to the settlements. A vehicular patrol responded ASAP, and the terrorists saw we were ready and got clean away.

Then Friday while guarding for 2 hours at A5 I once again had one of the tazpitot gets on the radio and tells me two Arabs just entered the Wadi right below me and are heading up towards me. She also sends in a patrol and before the Arabs can get to me they are headed off, and driven off by the patrol. The rest of the guard shift passes in peace but that evening a meter and a half long pipe bomb is found and disposed of at the main junction outside the settlements. Then at 2000 on friday night we had an attempted attack on one of the settlements. While a different group of soldiers, also from my tzevet, were on patrol at the very last settlement they spotted 2 men in the kneeling position 25 meters from the last house. So they began the process of engaging an unknown and suspicious person. Frist they called out to him and then they charged their weapons, and then they shot in the air. By this point the men had not responded and it was obvious their intentions were less than noble so we opened up on them aiming fr the legs first. We missed and they began to flee as fast as possible. The army sent out patrols to find them but to no avail.

Sunday, a new week and what we hoped would be a quite one. At about 1130 with only a half hour left on my guard tour at A5 I hear a big commotion on the radio. At a junction 2k from my position 2 terrorists attacked a soldier from the Plugah stationed permanently in the area. One threw a Molotov Cocktail, and the other broke a bottle and attempted to stab the soldier. He shot both dead, and good for him. After this the army raised our alert level from A, meaning unspecific intelligence about a possible terror attack, to B meaning specific intelligence an attack will occur. We were in this status till Monday night. Monday night one of our guys starts his guard shift at A8 with the sun setting. With him mounted on his weapon is a night vision piece which goes directly behind his preexisting scope and lets him aim accurately at night. However, when he had gone to start his guard shift he had fialed to check if there was a battery and there was not. So when the sun set 15 minutes in to his guard shift he began to fiddle with the piece trying to get it to work, not realizing he had no battery. then all of a sudden he hears a noise in the bushes. He screams out "Mi zeh!" ("Who is it?") the noise persists so he screams it again and charges his weapon. The noise is a mere 10 meters from him, and 10 meters from the first house. So my friend immediately fires in the air and gets on the radio and starts to scream, "Hakpatzah A8! Hakpatzah A8!" meaning "alert at A8!" He then fires another round into the air and still no response, so my friend gets on the radio again and calls in the situation again. But while on the radio he still has his weapon aimed at the area of the sound and since the night vision piece is blocking his sight, and the night vision piece does not work he shoots from the hip into the bush. Out pops the terrorist and he begins to run like a mad man in the other direction. 10 seconds later the army starts to show up and begins to chase after him, they begin to launch light grenades into the air and begin search patterns. Unfortunatly he got away.

Finally we got to Wednesday night, our last night of guard duty and I have A5 from 2200 to 0200. Other than it being chilly all is well at first, but then at about 0000 in rolls some fog, and then more, and then more, and then more. Soon the whole valley is blocked out, and soon we cant see more than a meter. Even with our night vision scopes we can only see about 5 meters. I was really scared now, 300 meters below me is a village from which 42 suicide bombers have come, and their population is not even 2000 people. They hold the record in Israel for the most suicide bombers from one place. This is below me, we are in alert level B still and I cant see 5 meters. The next 2 hours were the quietest and msot tense of all my guard shifts. I spent most of my time in the kneeling position straining my ears to try and hear what my eyes could not see.

In the end of the day this week taught me an enormous amount. For one if any one ever tells you "oh who needs to be combat anyways?" tell them you do because with out combat soldiers standing guard at night we would have had 3 terror attacks in just our area alone. After the week we went through not one person in our tzevet had a single doubt on why were where we are or why we need to be there. I also must note the amount of action we had in our week was not normal, it was the most action they have had in the area in 3 years. The reason we had a lot of this action I can honestly say is because of Obama. Today Obama has succeed in destroying the peace process. While before he became president the Palestinians would sit at the table with us, today they wont even sit at the smae table with us. The fact they are acting like children aside, Obama has essentially given them reason to think if they too pressure us they can get more out of us. Sorry Charley it does not work that way. Obama may be stupid, but Israelis are not. Obama will be gone soon and if next President ,hopefully, will see his friends lie in democratic states like Israel not terrorist regimes like Syria. But hey I was not the moron who elected him, I am just the one who has to deal with him incompetence. Thank you left wing Jews, especially Emanuel. As a side note he attempted to do his sons bar mitzvah in Israel but was boycotted by the Israeli venues, take that traitor. Sorry for the politics here, but it is a part of the reality connected to my work, a reality I am not sure Obama realizes. Maybe I should get him to read my blog?