They may all speak Hebrew, but IDF (Zahal) sailors, pilots and ground troops actually communicate in distinctly different ways. Each respective ‘language’ comes loaded with jargon and abbreviations. They also use unique equipment, survey the scene from varying perspectives, and operate within differing time frames. So, how do you bridge the gaps while leveraging the advantages of navy, infantry and air forces? One way to do it is by bringing together cadets from all three forces, and exposing them to each other’s worlds.
Soaring high with a bird’s-eye view, pilots support ground soldiers by scouting out danger and striking down with pin-point accuracy. Meanwhile, sailors survey targets offshore day in, day out, and fire at them from unexpected angles possible only at sea.
Given the significance of seamless communication, cadets from the navy, infantry, and air force met last week to develop a common language and lay out the ground for future cooperation. They gained invaluable exposure to each force’s terminology, tools, and even classified tactics.
Cadets also experienced a splash of naval life, as this year’s tri-force encounter was held at the Naval Academy. Just as sailors may feel like fish out of water in a fighter aircraft or tank, air force and infantry cadets were challenged with swimming, rafting, and diving exercises. Topping off the action, the cadets set sail on missile boats to witness an impressive display of naval technology, complete with offshore shooting and cannon fire blasting through the air. Cadets also watched an exhilarating sea-to-air rescue drill, in which a pilot, reaching out a hovering helicopter, hoists up a stretcher from the boat into the aircraft.
Revitalized with a desire to work together, a naval cadet asserted that “our mission will only be accomplished through close cooperation between the different arms of the defense forces. That cooperation begins here.” Meanwhile, air force and infantry cadets expressed their appreciation for sailors. “I definitely gained a new perspective for what sailors do, how close-knit they are, and how tough it is to live in such close quarters,” said an air force cadet.
With the growing threat of Hezbollah in the North, and the persistent challenges posed by Hamas in the South, the navy, infantry, and air force will continue to work in unison to protect the country. As the Commander of the Israel Navy Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg remarked, the exercise last week helped develop “mutual understanding and a common ‘IDF (Zahal) language.’” Sea, sky and land–the IDF (Zahal) stands ready to protect.