Sunday, November 27, 2011

Geting Ready To Move On

           I have come to the point many an Israeli has reached, the look forward and out; out of the Army, out of the system, out onto a new life. I am ready to step out of the army and into the life as an Israeli citizen. Just a month or two ago, I was far from here. I was fighting hard to go to officer’s course, unwilling to leave the army, and looking for ways to stay. But this has all changed, I realized to be a combat officer here is to give up all of one’s life, everything. Relationships, things you enjoy, you, and all other things go second to the job you take. I simply have too many other things I would like to do with my life to give up another 3 years. The army has also so thoroughly screwed me over I will be happy to leave them behind, at least somewhat I will have 20 years of reserves to do. 

            But its more than that I would like to do more with my life. The people I care about I would like to see, spend time with them, to be there when they need me or have special occasions. When my friends come through I want to see them and not have a quick conversation on the phone trying to explain why the army won’t let me out. I want to see them, and to be there for them.
            I want to do the things I enjoy in life as well. I want to get back into marathon shape and begin to run again. I want to run the Tel-Aviv marathon, the Jerusalem marathon, and I want to break three hours on a marathon. I want to know I am running because I want to and wish to and not because the army makes me, and at their pace. The sense of accomplishment and thrill I go from my first one has been calling me back for some time now. The shape I was in also had me feeling amazing. I would also love o run for Chai Lifeline, and organization which supports kids with cancer, and lifetime disabilities with love and summer camps. To run for them and complete a marathon, as well as know I raised money for such a deserving organization would bring me great pleasure.    

            I would also like to get back to school. I enjoyed the learning at West Point and hope I enjoy it just as much here in Israel. While the studies might be a bit more challenging in Hebrew I don’t think it will be an insurmountable challenge. I am still no sure what I want to study, but it does not matter yet, I have time to decide. I keep bouncing between economics, foreign relations, and engineering. 

            The army was always something I wanted to do, and now have done. I think it’s time now to keep moving forward and check off more of those boxes on my to do list.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


There are some thrills you can only experience in the army, and one of them I had the chance to experience many a time this week. Usually in the IDF when one does an infantry drill you do it first “dry,” meaning shouting bang! bang! and with no magazine inside the gun. Only after finishing the whole exercise this way we then go back to the start, and do it all over with live fire. While being safer this takes away from the reality of the drill, as when we go to war the first time we see our targets it will be the first time an we will be shooting live rounds. But …. occasionally when the right safety percussions are in place we are permitted to go straight to live fire. 
This past week we did a company drill straight to live fire. We started just as the sun was creeping up over the edge of the Golan Heights, and the air was frigidly cold. We began in the tree line and waited for the spray down of the targets by the company’s heavy machine guns. When they finished team one and three began to bound out quickly to clear the “killing ground” before the targets. (The killing ground is the flat area under complete control by fire and observation by the enemy) As they got to the bottom of the hill team four, and my team, team two, began to follow in their footsteps as support. The adrenaline now is pumping, the rounds are flying (I am not shooting yet but that changes nothing), and we are all in the height of Rabak. This is an IDF term which is hard to translate, but its meaning is something along the lines of being really pumped up, into something and full of aggression. We are right behind team one, as their hill tops come under their control we got ready to make a flanking maneuver to the enemies right side. They begin to pour out cover fire, and we start to bound out. The rabak now is really going, as we spread out into our fighting line. We are starting to pour our own fire down onto the targets, and are quickly advancing. Because the targets are so close we are quickly in charging distance and straighten out our line as we rise to charge the hill top. We come up and over the crest of the hill and quickly lay down flat and begin to cover team one as they did for us.                
Now team one does a flanking move and when they control their hilltops we go out for our flanking maneuver on the last and tallest hilltop. Little by little our line is formed as all of us bound out in small groups and the fire increases little by little. Finally we start going up the hill as one group, bullets screeching at our targets. Then we are in charging distance, the order to get ready to charge goes out. Magazines are switched, and then the assault gunners go up on one knee and star to spray down the targets. The fire power is awesome, and invigorating. Then all together we rise and begin to move forward. I am now giving two rounds to each target I see, with adrenaline pumping, breath coming ragged from running up the hill, and hundreds of rounds flying around me. Then it’s over, we are at the top, the hill is clear, and we begin to let off some of the pent up emotion.
There is something about shooting a live round which gives one such a thrill. The knowledge you are in control of something so deadly, and dangerous. The power you hold in your hands over life and death.  It’s an awesome thrill only multiplied wih each round you fire, and is fired around you.