“In the missions we conduct, we cannot fail” New fighters have joined the 669 Search & Rescue Unit. After a year and a half of arduous training at sea, on the ground and in the skies, the new graduates join dozens of fighters already serving
Tal Michael | Photography: Coral Goldman
“Blackhawk, we’ve been tackled. There’s a severely bleeding victim. Hostile movement approaching from East”, from the tangle of trees of Modi’in’s mountains, a UH-60 Blackhawk emerges and within several seconds lands mere meters away from the injured forces. “Close your eyes, the fighters will arrive soon. Here, that’s my son!”, calls an excited father from the audience, cutting short the action film playing in everyone’s heads.
For the first time, the thrilled parents in the audience were able to see what their sons would be doing for length of their military service. After braving the paratroopers’ basic training and treacherous training in every possible outline in the past year and a half, the soldiers officially became fighters. “You’re joining a unit today, from which an infinite number of stories of bravery and hundreds of operations have originated”, said Major General Ido Nehoshtan, Commander of the IAF. “When you hear the siren in the squadron, you will all be launched into the unknown: into dark nights, stormy seas and dark crevices. You will be the life wheel for thousands in the military, in Israel and abroad”.
Since its formation in the year 1974, the members of the unit have participated in many rescue operations.
“The missions we conduct cannot fail. In saving lives you only get one chance”, said Lieutenant Colonel Avinoam, commander of the unit. “Along the way we will all need to operate in outlines and places we didn’t think we’ll get to”.
After awarding graduates with the fighter wings for the last time in his service, Major General Nehoshtan took the opportunity to say goodbye to the unit. “I calculated it and realized that I have given wings and ranks to more than 2000 graduated of the various formations. Those moments are now particularly gratifying; the 669 course graduation ceremony was the first one I participated in as commander of the force, and now the last”. From now, the newly minted graduates will join the seasoned unit members in various bases, and become fighters of the 669 Search & Rescue unit.