“We knew we’d have to take off quickly”
One after another, combat planes took off
The pilots were quick to board their aircraft and take off An IAF Magazine correspondant accompanied combat pilots just a moment before taking off to Operation “Pillar of Defense”, attacking various terroristic targets along the Gaza Strip. “We knew what we were training for, but specific details like when and how were given as we went along. “There was a 1000% effort to avoid civilian casualties”
Yesterday, the northern “Valley” squadron opened operation “Pillar of Defense” by taking off toward the Gaza Strip with the goal of drastically hitting main terrorist strongholds. The goal was to disrupt the launching abilities of various terrorist organizations and harm their development, while preventing any hits and casualties. “It’s never a 100% guarantee that we won’t harm any innocent civilians, but we put in a 1000% effort to prevent it–in every aspect, every level, in the headquarters and out on the field come go time”.
A Piercing Siren Cut Through the Silence
It was a very odd day around the formation: quiet, no landings, no takeoffs or disruptions. A long period of silent moments is very unusual at IAF Bases, which are usually bustling and filled with noises. Aside from the silence, everything seemed to be on track. Then, a sharp siren cut through the deafening silence to bring us back to reality. “We were on call, and once we got the okay all the pre-prepared airplanes needed to takeoff very quickly, in a very professional and efficient manner”, describes Commander of Ramat David, Colonel Nir. “We knew what we were training for. But the specific details of when and how were given as we went along”.
The rooms quickly emptied, soldiers and officers walked quickly around the formation, focused on the mission ahead. In a few minutes, people of the aerial crew came out wearing their suits rushing towards the aircrafts. One of the pilots was waiting for his flying partner, impatiently tapping his fingers on the ledge of the plane.
Flying Combat Airplanes
The next noise which disrupted the silence was the noise of takeoff. One by one, combat airplanes took off into the air rushing toward their southern mission. The IAF attacked tens of targets around the strip: qussam launching targets, terrorists trying to launch missiles towards Israeli territories, ammunition storages and underground long distance launching formations. “The mission was completed, we investigated in order to see what we had done and how we could have improved so we know for next missions”, summarizes Colonel Nir. “Personally, I was very proud of all our base members for their readiness on short notice and the partnership and cooperation amongst the various formations”.