No Longer Performing Mandatory Service: 167 on The Graduation Stage

Photo Courtesy of Guy Ashash

No Longer Performing Mandatory Service: 167 on The Graduation Stage

Photo Courtesy of Guy Ashash

No Longer Performing Mandatory Service: 167 on The Graduation Stage

Photo Courtesy of Guy Ashash

No Longer Performing Mandatory Service: 167 on The Graduation Stage

Photo Courtesy of Guy Ashash

No Longer Performing Mandatory Service: 167 on The Graduation Stage

 Courtesy of Guy Ashash

A moment before they finish the pilot course, Tuesday evening, Pilot Course 167 cadets marched on the same stage on which they will march today and formally complete their flight school training. One after another, they were presented with commissioned officer insignia and joined the IAF’s family of officers.

Lilach Gonen and Noa Fenigstein

This week, three complicated and arduous years will officially come to an end for dozens of Pilot Course 167 graduates. During these three years, the graduates experienced anticipation alongside concern, success and failure while confronting many additional challenges. Today, they will finally receive their pilot wings and will be able to spread their wings and set off for a long and meaningful service in the squadrons of the force.

But, a moment before they receive their wings, the graduates reported today to the graduation stage at the Hatzerim airbase for one last time as soldiers performing mandatory military service and were presented with new first lieutenant insignia. “These were three years, in which you pushed your abilities to their limits, found a new love in the form of aviation, learned how to cope both on a personal level and as a group, and succeeding in being worthy enough to be counted among the (IAF’s) fighter pilots”, Hatzerim airbase Commander, Brigadier General Tal Kalman, said to the graduates. “The IAF is the strategic arm of the State of Israel, and its strength is measured by its manpower, led by its fighter pilots”.

The officer promotion ceremony of the soon-to-be pilot course graduates acts as a dress rehearsal that will take place today, this is the last opportunity for the graduates to practice the traditional march, for the band to tune its instruments, and for the airshow participants to polish their appearance just before the firing salvo.

This year, the pilot graduation ceremony is being held on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of aviation in the Land of Israel, which started with the first landing of a plane on the shores of Jaffa in 1913 and continues to this day. “A hundred years ago, a new era in Israel began in which flying machines dramatically affected our lives. Ever since then, the machines continued advancing”, said the commander of the flight school to the excited audience. “However, advanced machines, as wonderful as they may be, are not worth anything without the fighter pilots who operate them”.

 

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