In Honor of the International Women’s day, one very proud Squadron Commander of the IAF Aviation Academy writes a special letter to his female soldiers who operate as squadron commanders of young cadets. “They have arrived here to make their dreams come true, and they still don’t know the most basic things about the military. There aren’t make girls who could accomplish and put up with everything you must go through”
IAF Aviation Academy, Preparation Stage
It is early January, ‘Hatzerim’ Airbase, a very late hour of the evening. “Salute Commander of Unit G!” You find yourself standing in front of 60 cadets who have joined the army about six hours ago, they seem shocked, and they have no idea what being apart of the military is like nor anything about the discipline. Amongst them are dispersed the next pilots of the IAF, and not to mention, most likely the next commander of the IAF.
During the end of February at “Hatzerim” Airbase- the paths of a valley at a very late hour of the night, you are walking as the head of the unit, while 60 cadets are walking behind you in a 14 km march. They follow you right and left, you pick up the pace and they do the same. It is 10 PM, you have finished the march and now they are standing in an organized formation waiting to salute you. Now they look like soldiers.
The end of March is around the corner at “Hatzerim” Airbase–Early in the morning at the Preparation Stage. You are standing outside the room, the doors open and 15 cadets have not made it past the 10th aviation exam. You have commanded them and accompanied them for three months and suddenly your unit seems smaller. You are starting to miss they ones who have dropped out as you converse with the soldiers who are still in the ‘game’.
The middle of April, at the training fields of the infantry force academy. It is very late at night; you look back and observe your soldiers with painted faces conducting a stealth training session at nighttime as part of a final field craft exams, you think to yourself that only three weeks ago the most difficult thing they ever faced was a calculus question of mathematics exams.
The middle of June is near–Pilot’s Mountain, six o’clock in the morning. You are finishing a 26 km march alongside the soldiers who have made it to the final stage. Your units is made of 20 soldiers who are now climbing the final meters of the march as you stare at them, thinking back on that same group of 20 soldiers you got at the beginning of January. Five months, countless sentences, classes, marches, explanations, permissions, committees and a lot of investment and self intervention.
You could have chosen from many other roles in the army, within the IAF, but you chose to be a commander of the primary stage of the elite IAF Pilot Training Course. To stand in front of many soldiers, 24 hours a day, in an attempt to make them the best soldiers for future success. There aren’t many women who could deal with the kind of things you go through. I salute you, commander!