Photo: Stav Frankel
An elite unit of rescue fighters completed its 74 week long training in a ceremony attended by the Commander of the Israeli Air Force
Date: 30/05/2010, 3:30 PM Author: Nadav Deutscher
The ceremony marking the completion of the course to become a rescue fighter within the 669 Unit – the Israeli Air Force’s aerial evacuation and rescue unit – took place at the Shilat cliffs, near the city of Modi’in. The newly integrated soldiers stood on the top of the cliffs – which serve from time to time as a training place for the unit – and received the special pin of the rescue fighter wings from the IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Ido Nachushtan.
Before presenting the wings, Maj. Gen. Ido Nachushtan told the new rescue fighters who graduated the unit’s 37th cycle: “These wings are the finish line of the long course during which you have acquired various abilities. You joined us in a highly significant period for the State of Israel, a period of strengthening of Hamas and nuclearization of Iran, a period in which the IAF needs to be prepared for various complex scenarios”.
At the end of the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Nachushtan spoke to the IDF (Zahal) Website, praising the 669 Unit for its achievements. “The unit is mobilized for special missions hundreds of times a year and these missions are always performed in difficult conditions. But despite this, I have full confidence in them. They rescue people caught in difficult situations hundreds of times a year”, he said.
The rescue fighters completed an exhausting 74-week long training course, which included among other lessons a 05 level infantry basic training, a medic’s course, a parachuting course, a diving course, a rescue workshop, a commander course, trainings involving helicopters and rescue trainings in all types of field conditions and weather, including land, sea, mall, ship, aircraft, car and more.
The ceremony marking the completion of this course opened with the rescue fighters giving a small taste of the abilities they acquired over the 18 months, vis-א-vis a display including rappelling from a great height in order to rescue somebody, rescuing wounded people from a Sikorsky CH 53 helicopter using cables to slide down, descending a cliff while carrying a wounded person using a special sliding technique and more.
“In our mission there are no second chances”
The 669 Unit’s Commander, Lt. Col. Avinoam, spoke after the presentation, addressing the new rescue fighters. “You can look back with satisfaction and recall all the missions that first seemed impossible to fulfill and in the end were possible for you”, he said before stressing their crucial importance in the eyes of the IAF and the IDF (Zahal). “Israel copes with various challenges, and we will be required to operate in places where we had never operated before. Your operating conditions will always be hard, but you should remember: in our mission we cannot fail, because there are no second chances”.