The famous photograph from operation Entebbe
“From inside it looks the same. It even rattles you the same way”
The people of the loading unit know that a challenge awaits
The Hummer stands next to the Hercules and waits for the opening shot The reserve duty of the paratrooper brigade embarked on a special exercise with Hercules C-130 Squadrons. This time: not only were the fighters let in the plane, but their Hummer vehicles as well
Time is running out. The large Hummers were already taking up most of the room in the center of the Hercules C-130 and the reserve duty fighters had to squeeze in as well. It was almost time to fly towards the destined training area.
The force’s loading unit, whose job is to balance the airplane’s weight, know that they face a tricky challenge. During exercises, the supervision unit is always larger than usual, in case a rebellious Hummer strays from the obvious boundaries and weighs down the airplane even more. None the less, the supervision units know that the fighters who are being transported are in reserve duty: briefly leaving their High Tech Company, wives and children, and haven’t been transported in a Hercules in a while, If ever…
“Exercises with the IAF are routine-breakers. I’ve never flown in a Hercules”, confesses the Intelligence Officer of the Patrol Battalion, First Lieutenant (Res.) Tal. “We’ve done a similar exercise before with Sea Stallions, but we didn’t take our vehicles with us. We call the Hercules ‘The Flying Armored Personnel Carrier’. From inside it looks the same, and even hurtles and shakes you in the same way, except it has wings”, he explains.
Several hours earlier, the Hummers stand on the line, a few meters away from the large plane. The loading supervisors examine the vehicles from every possible angle and authorize every one of them, making sure for the millionth time that the gas tank is completely full.
At the end of the day, the first Hummer, number 79643, stands next to the Hercules and waits for the opening shot. The brake lights switch off as the loading supervisor quietly signals to the pilot to begin driving in reverse. The spectators’ breaths stops with every slight movement to the right and to the left, nervously speculating weather the vehicle will indeed be able to climb the metal ramps. The Hummer does not disappoint.
After it entered the plane, many wonder out loud how they are planning on fitting in any more, but they do. One of the reserve servicemen whips out a cellular phone and films the ground vehicle entering the spotted plane, perhaps a salute to the famous photograph from operation “Entebbe”, in which the fake vehicle of Idi Amin can be seen protruding from the Hercules’s belly.
After the Hercules planes safely deliver the Red Division’s fighters to the ground, they climb into the Hummers and onto the sand dunes. When they return home, they can check another adventure off their military experience checklist–riding a flying armored personnel carrier.