Armored Corps soldiers march to remember those who fell

IDF (Zahal) Armored Corps supporters and friends marched in commemoration of 30 years since the success of operation Peace for the Galilee, led by the corps

Date: 25/04/2012, 1:20 PM     Author: Adam May

Earlier this month, members new and old of the IDF (Zahal)’s storied Armored Corps joined hundreds of friends, family, and supporters at the Armored Corps Memorial, Yad La-Shirion, to take part in a commemorative march along Latrun’s rolling hills. Members of the Armored Corps’ three active battalions, Sa’ar, Barak, and Ikvot HaBarzel, along with members of the training battalion Bnei Or, were all in attendance.

The annual event, now in its 22nd year, honors the corps and all soldiers who fell in its service. With this year marking the 30th anniversary of the Corps’ participation in the First Lebanon War, the march honored those who participated in Operation Peace for the Galilee. Commander of the Bnei Or Brigade, Lt. Col. Lior Hochman said, “Today helps us foster connections between the different generations that have served in the corps. Along the march you can see both soldiers serving today and those that served in Operation Peace for the Galilee.”

Soldiers, parents, and children all walked together along trails that winded through the wooded hills surrounding Yad La-Shirion. Along the path were several stations where soldiers of the Corps’ education branch gave presentations on the various armored brigades, detailing their heroic actions and fundamental involvement in Operation Peace for the Galilee.

The Armored Corps played a pivotal role in that operation, leading the push into Lebanon. The operation also marked the first combat use of the Israeli-made Merkava tank, which proved itself against Syria’s state of the art Soviet-made tanks.

The operation’s mission, which was aimed at pushing the PLO out of southern Lebanon and safeguarding northern Israel from rockets and terrorist attacks, still resonates. Although the enemy has changed, soldiers serving today can relate to the operation’s goals of safeguarding Israel’s citizens from terrorist attacks. Lt. Col. Hochman noted: “Peace for the Galilee was the first time the Armored Corps fought in closed, urban terrain. When you look at it, this is the same terrain we fight in today. It requires integrated fighting and cooperation between infantry and armor.”

“The march allows the public, and us as a corps, to expand our knowledge about our history, especially about this operation,” said Lt. Col. Hochman. He also spoke on the importance of commemorating soldiers who fell in service. Upon completing the course through Latrun’s hillsides, Lt. Col. Hochman said, “we remember that we are marching through an area that we paid a dear price to take. What seems trivial took an enormous toll. That’s why Yad La-Shirion was built here.”