Reserve Duty for a Good Cause Reserve Duty for a Good Cause They leave their universities, their jobs, women and children behind as they takeoff in combat airplanes. Reserve duty pilots of the “Scorpion” Squadron tell us a bit about leaving behind a family dealing with constant rocket attacks

Shani Poms

Amongst thousands of reservists rushed to their bases, IAF Combat pilots were aplenty. The difference is–they are used to it. At least once every two weeks, they arrive at their squadron in order to stay qualified, in shape and keep flying. This time, as the pilots weren’t dealing with training takeoffs, their families had a hard time stopping their everyday lives and dealing with the realities at the Gaza Strip and back home.

“My girlfriend lives in Tel Aviv and now she’s also in the fire zone. She is even more worried about me now, and I try to explain to her that I’m perfectly fine”, shares Pilot Captain (Res.) Dan of the “Scorpion” Squadron, who left not only his girlfriend behind but also his studies. “During my day to day life I’m a student and although it’s difficult for me to catch up with missing classes, I do what I can even if it means bringing my books with me to the airbase”.

Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Shmulik, a combat navigator who left behind his entire family, won’t stay away from the squadron despite his family’s objections. “My wife is naturally a very relaxed woman, but my children surprised me with their worrying. My youngest child called me and asked why I didn’t wake him up in this morning so that he could say goodbye”, he says, “It’s the first time that the kids treat the fact that I’m going into service in a very different way then I’m used to. They are showing interest and are curious. I believe that they understand that I’m leaving them for a good cause”.

There are kids who show an entirely different interest: The safety shelters. “My wife has a hard time dealing with the whole situation, but my children are enjoying it–we have a safe shelter (Mamad) in the house and it is well-stocked”, says Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Dror, a combat navigator of the squadron. “I arrive at the formation almost every day, I feel bad not going to work but we do everything we can”.