IAF Commander Eshel: “I trust the unit you to withstand the right tests for us, as befits the tradition of this unit”
The commando unit of the IAF has added new fighters to its ranks This week, after nearly two years of arduous training, new fighters have joined the IAF’s Commando Unit. “The unit has unique capabilities as a part of the air force and the IDF as a whole”, said Commander of the IAF
The newest “Shaldag” Commando Unit fighters stood at the peak of the Masada and excitedly received their fighter’s pin. They are continuing a long-held tradition of the unit, which was founded after the Yom Kippur War in order to provide the IAF with independence regarding Commando and Intelligence issues. This is the moment for which the fighters had waited for almost two years throughout their lengthy course. Their preparation training included infantry boot camp, a paratroopers’ course, a terrorist course and others that concern commando and field issues.
Now, the fighters will join the ranks of “Shaldag”. The legacy books of the unit contain many stories that are still classified, and clandestine operations far away from the country’s borders. In the beginning of the 90’s, under the command of Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the unit played a significant role in operation “Salomon”, in which 14 thousand Jews from Ethiopia were brought to Israel within 34 hours. Throughout the years of combat in Lebanon–the 1982 Lebanon war, operations “Accountability” and “Grapes of Wrath” and the 2006 Lebanon war–the unit operated intensively and even received a unit citation in operation “Grapes of Wrath”.
IAF Commander: “You will need to face immediate and emerging threats”
“Today, you are joining the IAF’s family of fighters”, said Major General Amir Eshel, commander of the force, as he addressed the new graduates. “Wearing the fighter wings of “Shaldag” represents the completion of a long and arduous course. You were found to be worthy, personally and professionally, to be a part of this special unit. Wearing the wings represents the responsibility that you will carry and our expectations of you as an elite group of fighters”.
“The current situation in the Middle East is defined by big changes that do not bode well. The Israeli Air Force, and “Shaldag” as a part of it, is required to operate continuously in the face of immediate and emerging threats. Soon you will be thrown into the circle of activity, in which you will need to discover a fighting spirit, professionalism, flexibility and adaptability. I trust the unit and yourselves to withstand the right tests for us, as befits the tradition of this unit, the legacy of the Israeli Air Force”.