Dozens of new aerial fighters joined the IAF today at an exciting ceremony on the parade ground in Hatzerim Airbase. IAF Commander: “You are the successors of a few, protectors of Israel”
Noa Fenigstein | Translation: Eden Sharon
Three years ago, they endured the pilot course tryouts, striving to be accepted into the course. Two years ago, the received the aircrew pins on the top of mount “Masada”. A year ago, they were busy pursuing an academic degree and trying to pass their flight classes. Today, the cadets of the IAF Pilot Course 169 ceased to be called ‘cadets’ and will henceforth be known as IAF aircrews members. “Your motivation, diligence and talent are invaluable”, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the graduates. “Again and again the IAF has proven to be the iron fist of the IDF, operating not only professionally, but with an unprecedented level of morality”.
The exciting ceremony was held in the presence of the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General (Res.) Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, and IAF Commander, Major General Amir Eshel. One after another, the graduates were called up to receive the pilot wings, in addition to a nice pat on the back, and dozens of new aircrew member joined the force. “You are a new generation, successors of a few, protectors of Israel”, said IAF Commander, Major General Amir Eshel. “During Operation ‘Protective Edge’ we were called to act against constant terror attacks on our citizens and communities. The soldiers of the IAF have shown courage, cognitive flexibility and camaraderie. You graduates are expected to operate in the same way”.
The graduates of IAF Pilot Course 169 come from all over Israel, from a northern Kibbutz to the southern city of Eilat. 52% of the graduated live in cities, while 48% live in smaller communities. 36% of the graduates preformed a year of community service prior to drafting, for example, First Lieutenant Y was a volunteer firefighter while First Lieutenant R volunteered in a youth village for physically and mentally disabled children.