In a recent rugby game between soldiers from the Kfir Brigade and the Armored Corps, IDF (Zahal) Website came across Maj. Tal David, sent to represent the IDF (Zahal) in a unique course at the US’s Fort Knox in 2009 where he learned about commanding and found himself an ambassador for Israel
Date: 16/12/2010, 11:45 AM Author: Rotem Eliav
Every year, the IDF (Zahal) sends a representative to Fort Knox, a US army post in Kentucky, for a Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, which prepares officers for commanding on a brigade and battalion level and includes officers from armies all over the world. During the rigorous seven-month course, foreign officers are given the opportunity to study alongside American officers and receive international exposure for their army and perspectives.
Maj. Tal David, Commander of the 7th Armored Brigade who IDF (Zahal) Website recently ran into at a rugby game participated in the program in 2009. His substantial experience in the Armored Corps, both as a company commander and a Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, made him a perfect candidate for the course.
Throughout the course, Maj. David was both honored and amazed to discover the immense admiration other officers had for him and the IDF (Zahal) in general. “Our interminable war against terror and the constant battles we are forced to engage in at almost every border make our army unique, and the other officers were able to learn from my uniquely Israeli army experience,” explained Maj. David. “I realized this was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to not only learn from these people, but also give the IDF (Zahal) some positive exposure.”
“During my stay at Fort Knox,” he continued, “I became another ambassador for Israel. I was able to give 100 people a taste of the true IDF (Zahal), independent of the media.”
Keeping this in mind, Maj. David was determined to keep up with the high American standards and even overcame the language barrier. “Even though English was a challenge for me, I took the tests just like everyone else,” he said, “I embraced the course as a personal challenge and was determined not to fall behind.”
Maj. David adopts this same spirit when commanding his unit. He stresses the importance of spirit, setting goals and excellence. “Maj. David is unlike any other commander I’ve had. He has unique authority,” said one of the soldiers in his unit.
“The Fort Knox course unquestionably enhanced my professionalism as an officer, and I hope to convey that to my soldiers,” explains the commander.
The Fort Knox Maneuver Captain’s Career Course also gave Maj. David an unprecedented cultural experience. “I was introduced to a variety of fascinating fighting techniques, however, I was mostly impressed by the American army’s steadfast emphasis on discipline,” he said.
“Learning that discipline and soldier-commander interaction in general are problems that exist in large armies like that of America as well, and these truly helped me gain some perspective,” he concluded.
Another similarity Maj. David noticed between the IDF (Zahal) and the US army is the unwavering pride soldiers have in serving their country. “Traveling to the US for the course reminded me why I became a commander and an officer,” he concluded.