Friday, January 29, 2010

Coming together

This week we continued to build our skills as we went from doing a movement as pair and now are at a team. This means I am the central leader here being a team leader. We put things together on several levels we practiced movement from location to location, crossing suspicious or threatening territory, then we set up an observation position and watched the second team conquer the hill, and as they finished they told us we had made contact go. So we began our bounding and cover fire and covered a full 600 meters this way. When this drill was over I can really say I felt what an organic team is in full swing.

We also practiced a squad maneuver where my team was the cover fire, and the second team did a flank maneuver on a hill. But since my mifaked (squad leader) is crazy he chose the hill with an almost 90 degree angle. When we finished the drill he then killed off half the squad and we had to carry them one on one back to camp. But we realized as we went along that we could not safely carry the "wounded" back down the hill with out dropping them on their head so my mifaked permitted them to walk on their own down the hill but then back on our backs they went. Of course we got the last wounded to the collection point 2 seconds late and we had to carry them another 100 meters to a new point which we stood on time for too.

Two weeks ago we did have a very interesting experience though I would like to mention. All the team leaders were together and training as one group. The first night they took us outside the base and we had lots of rain so the ground was extremely muddy. We got there and we had to build two goals and every one was thinking Soccer!! then they took out a stick light and told us this is the "ball" and get in the crawling position. We then played an hour plus of soccer crawling. We lost unfortunately so we had to carry the other team back one on one. The man I had to carry weighed 100 kilos I maybe, maybe weigh 75 kilos, fun stuff.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shmira, mitbach, and a masa.

So my Plugah (Company) had the wonderful luck of being chosen to guard the base and do kitchen duty this week. We started guard duty on Sunday afternoon and it ran through Monday afternoon. We guarded 2 hours on 4 hours off, and we did madasim (PT) and the like in our free time. When relieved we went to classes on Abach (NBC warfare)and the different weapon platforms there will be in each squad. This lasted till Thursday when we got our turn at the kitchen. At 0530 were outside the kitchen and work began. I thought this was going to be a simple day, but it was anything but, we worked like dogs. While we were prohibited to run indoors we could walk fast, extremely fast. Everything we did was done with times, and our mifakdim (commanders) were always pushing us faster and harder. We finally finished up in the kitchen at 2300 and were in bed by midnight, with a wake up at 0515. At 0600 we were back in the kitchen on friday and back to hard work. Since we had done so much the day before they had trouble finding enough work for us to do so we did things like organize the cardboard recycling and stack all the broken down boxes in a neat fashion. We were finally released at 1430 and from there we went into our free time for shabbat, but more on that in a minute.

This week was also our masah (ruck march) samal (Platoon sergeant). We knew this was coming as all day we were made to drink water by the gallon to keep us from dehydration. So when we finally left at about 2030 we were ready to get it over with. The Samal started the masah off by screaming "after me" and then running out of the plugah and towards the base's gate. This pace did not let up one bit. We had our physical trainer NCO come along with us, and she ran the whole masah with us, that was the pace. We did 7 kilometers this way in about 50 minutes which is a 11.5 minute mile pace. then with a kilometer t the base we stop and the stretcher is opened and we place 8 sand bags on the stretcher, which is a total weight of about 270 pounds. We then run at our previous pace with the stretcher all the way back to our plugah and there everyone gets under the stretcher and one of us screams "alaeh" (rise) and we respond "krav" (combat/battle) and heave the stretcher above our heads. We did this three times and then we left the stretcher above our heads till our mifakdim said to place it on the ground.

Now I ma going to get back to shabbat. It started like any normal one on base till after dinner, when we had to stay and clean up the whole cheder ochel (mess hall) and then I was taken to help clean dishes. This all ended at 2130m and I went straight to bed. at 0100 I was woken up for my turn at shmirah (guard duty) on the base and from 0100 to 0300 I guarded the rear gate withe a member of my kitah (squad). Then at 0300 I was relieved and went back to sleep till 0450 when I was woken up for the next rotation on guard duty which lasted from 0530 to 0800, this time at the front gate and with my mem'mem (Platoon leader). When relieved I got back to my Plugah in time to be placed on kitat konenn'ut (the readiness squad literally: its our job to be the first t respond to any incidents around the base) and then we as a group went to morning prayers. Afterward we got back to the plugah and I had 10 minutes to rest till I had to head out to the cheder ochel to help set up and prepare the place for lunch. Then came lunch and clean up which meant I did not get back to my bed till 1330 and after 20 minutes of sleep I was woken up to be told I was back on kitat konnen'ut and in 20 more minutes i had to switch out the plugah's guard for a half hour tour. So I placed the radio in my vest and sat down hoping the time would pass quickly but after 2 minutes we had a hakpatzah (literally a wake up its when there is a test of our readiness or a real occurrence we had to go deal with) and it was a real one so we set off at a dead run to the other end of the base. We get there and some arab's had parked their car about 300 meters waya from the fence and were just wandering around next to the fence, right next to the ammo storage bunker. So we shouted at them to go home and get out of there and they got the idea after a minute or two. We then went back to the plugah and I did my tour of guard duty and finally got to go get some real sleep at 1500 in the afternoon.

The highlight of the week was the end of shabbat though when we all found out our positions in the squad. I got Team leader meaning they want to send me to more leadership courses in the future and I will get a nice scope (3x zoom) to add to my weapon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Swearing In Ceremony

It will be at my base Bach golani, next to kibbutz Regavim on Thursday 7 January 2009 at 1600. try and come it will be fun.

Friday, January 1, 2010

From the Chief of Staff to being the best

So this week was supposed to be shooting week for my whole Plugah (Company) but I was pulled out of my Plugah and placed in a week of Hebrew studies. I really did nt want to be there but I was learning there and while I was given the opportunity to leave I chose to stay. So the week ground on and by Wednesday I was already beginning to get really frustrated with the way things were going. After lunch on Wednesday we gt some interesting news though, Gabi Ashkenazi, the Chief of Staff of the IDF, was coming to our base to visit. We all thought this was mighty cool, but it got better when I found out I will be in some sort of meeting with the Chief of Staff and was going to be sent back t my room to reshave and shine my shoes. So me and a few other soldiers were taken back to our rooms we shaved ,and shined our shoes and were reformed ready to go. We get to the small auditorium and are seated we are abut 50 people in the room including soldiers in basic and advanced training, as well as officers of ours. We sit and wait a good 30 minutes and then we are all told to stand and the room goes dead silent. Then in walks Gabi Ashkenzai. He tells us all to sit and remove our berets and he begins to talk. He asks if there are any Mifaked Chuliot (Team Leaders, a position filled by the more promising soldiers in training) in the room and then begins to talk with one of the ones present. He then asks if there are any Chayalim Bodedim (Lonely Soldiers literally, meaning a soldier with no immediate family in the country like me) and I and my friend next t me raise our hands. So unluckily for me my friend next t me got called on, so I just missed talking to the Chief of Staff. From there he continued too talk and he said some important things. First he reminded us just because our borders are quite does not mean our enemies have become our friends, and we must still be ever vigilant. He also reminded us our enemies are training and we must be training as well, and making the best of the training we are getting.

On Thursday my week of Ulpan came to a close and they gave out rewards to the Mitztaynim (Best Soldiers) for the week. So I got Mitztayen for my Hebrew level and this meant I was supposed to get a chamshush (released for the weekend on Thursday instead of Friday). So I went to my Mifaked (squad leader) when I gt back to my company and asked about it, and he told me he will check with the higher ups about it. So I waited and 5 minutes latter he tld me to go put on my Alephs (dress uniform) and hurry down I had to talk to the Company Commander before I could leave. So I hurried to change, shave and polish me shoes, and got back down quickly. Then the Company Commander came out and after saluting him he looked at my certificate and tld me congratulations, and that I was getting the chamshush, but not because of the week of Hebrew, but because every week I was the one trying hard and putting in the effort to do my best and it was coming my way and I deserved it. He then shook my hand and I was on my way. So on Friday morning for the first time in a long time I woke up in my bed.