Saturday, March 6, 2010
One step up
This past week we were in education week, a week i am almost certain is exclusive to the IDF. It would be unheard of in the US Army for a combat unit to cease training to spend a week studying their country, morals, ethics, and touring their country and learning their historical connection to the land. But in the IDF this is a common and mandatory week to undergo for all combat soldiers be they active or in training. But this is not what I want to focus on, its what happened this Thursday that I want to focus on.
On Thursday we woke up at 0300 and at 0330 step of for a masa. We opened with 10k at about 4 MPH pace and it was not bad at all. The unfortunate part was it was still to dary to see much scenery but we could tell the view out there was beautiful none the less. Then when we got to the 10k mark we opened up the stretchers. We placed people on them and moved out. From here on out it was uphill, all up hill. We climbed and climbed. Sweating, grunting, and trying to motivate one another to take just a few more steps forward. I got under the stretcher at step off and stayed there for the first kilometer, and when I stepped out I was pretty tired but we were not anywhere near done. I got under the stretcher several more times and we kept our climb. As we climbed more and more the sun too began to rise more and more. As we got higher and higher we began to get enough light to see just how much mountain we had climbed so far. Finally as we got to about the 4k mark our me'm me'm (Platoon leader) turned to us and screamed "almost there!! who wants to be a tzevet?" Everyone instantly began to push for those last 20 meters as we climbed to the sumit of the mountain, everyone screaming, pushing, and pulling those stretchers the final few kilometers to the finish.
At the submit awaiting us was a sign burning in flames on which was written "tzevet natan." Here I am now going to have to explain the significance of this word "tzevet." Its a Hebrew word meaning, a group or staff. In the army it is a term used for platoon sized elements in special forces units. Now we did not start of being called a tzevet we started of as a machlakah which is Hebrew for a platoon. We were constantly being reminded you are not special now at all, you are just another company in basic training and keep your head down. But when this masa ended this all changed. we are now a tzevet, and were inducted into the sayeret, which is the special forces unit for the brigade. We also broke distance with our squad leaders after the masa and most have left and the rest leave after this upcoming week. from now on we will have squad leaders from with in the tzevet.