Former Commanders Return to Northern Aerial Control Unit Last night, about a dozen former officers went north to an aerial control unit in Mt. Meron for a stroll down memory lane. They met each other, were updated on the routine of the unit in 2013, and heard about the current challenges and threats. “The former commanders have a different perspective that we, as present commanders, do not have”

Shani Pomes

Last night, special and very respectable guests visited a northern control unit: about a dozen former officers from the unit from different periods got a glimpse of what used to be their turf. Among the commanders that arrived, was Major (res.) Moshe Clem, the first commander of the control unit in Mt. Meron, who was one of the founders of the unit. Seven former commanders of the southern aerial control unit, who joined the former commanders of the northern unit, came for a stroll down memory lane.

The control unit in Mt. Meron was established in 1967. The following year, it was granted responsibility for the northern airspace, where it operates to this day. During the tour of the unit, the former commanders were able to see the changes the unit has undergone over the years and to hear about the current challenges and threats with which the commander of the aerial control unit has had to deal over the past few years. “I showed them the present challenges. Some of the challenges of the past were different from the ones of today”, says Lieutenant Colonel Assaf, current commander of the northern aerial control unit. “Once upon a time, the fighting was between armies. Today, there is an asymmetrical conflict that challenges us as an advanced side in the conflict. This very much affects what happens in the unit, and we also want to update the former commanders and fill them in on it”.

Looking back
In addition to the tour, the former commanders and the unit personnel paid homage to Lieutenant Colonel Yaacov Levin, known as “Uchi”, who commanded the northern aerial control unit towards the end of the eighties and passed away last year. Uchi commanded the unit when the MiG-23 plane invaded the Israeli airspace and landed on a landing strip in Megiddo. A memorial was held in his memory at the unit, for which his family, friends, and subordinates were present. “This meeting today has an important value for us: The commanders who came today have a glorious operational history. They have a different perspective that we, as current commanders, do not have. What’s more, at every meeting like this we hear new stories that connect us to our heritage”.