Final Week of Training for 669 Cadets

Final Week of Training for 669 Cadets

Photo by:Gui Ashash

Final Week of Training for 669 Cadets

Photo by:Gui Ashash

Final Week of Training for 669 Cadets

Photo by:Gui Ashash

A few days before receiving their renowned “Black Cat” pins, 669 SAR cadets faced their final, yet highly intensive, training as cadets

David Greenwald

Evacuation of wounded soldiers and pilots parachuted out of their jets, various changing scenarios, sudden dispatches, sleepless nights and absolute uncertainty – these are just some of the challenges that awaited 669 SAR Unit training course cadets on their final training before officially graduating from the course. The object of the final training week was confronting the cadets with five days of warfare, just days before starting their way as combatants in all senses.

During the busy week, the cadets flew on the “Black Hawk” and CH-53 helicopters dozens of times and practiced rescue missions in areas simulating Northern Israel and Gaza Strip regions. They also faced ground missions such as rope rescue, car break-ins and mass casualty incidents – all while their commanders withhold data and keep them in complete obfuscation, not knowing what lies ahead.

“The goal of the exercise is simulating real war for all that it entails. Simulating the accompanying fatigue and intensiveness, rapid moves from mission to mission and the need to provide medical treatment despite being hungry, exhausted and filled with uncertainty about what lies ahead”, says Major Lior, Commander of the unit’s training department. “We prepare the soldiers for extreme situations both professionally and mentally. In most cases, the scenarios were presented to the cadets while in the air and they had to plan the way of arrival and proper treatment at the scene”.

“This week resembles actual war”
As part of the training exercise, Unit 669 cooperated with many infantry brigades such as IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade, “Kfir” brigade and “Nahal” brigade, which simulated wounded forces for the trainees to evacuate.

The amount of wounded and their condition varied from mission to mission and in many times, the cadets came across different situations from what they prepared for. “It can also happen during real combat, when the force ahead does not send accurate information regarding its wounded status and we must take immediate decisions we didn’t prepare for”, says Major Lior.

The exercise climaxed at its last night: after four days jam-packed with activity, the exhausted cadets were dispatched to the final exercise and were once again forced to face extreme situations.
They practiced highly complicated scenarios like evacuating a fighter pilot from a crashed jet, evacuating a pilot who fell into a pit and searching a pilot who ejected his jet and his location is unknown while avoiding fire.

“As a commander, I must preserve my soldiers’ operational tension, thoroughly inspect their performance and impart as much knowledge as I can during the week, so they would finish it as better soldiers”, adds Major Lior. “As someone who took part in Operation ‘Protective Edge’ less than a year ago, I can honestly say that this week resembles actual war more than the entire training period”.

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