“Wearing the pilot wings close to your heart reflects a rare and significant meeting of dreams, determination, and ability”
The course valedictorian pastes the logo “A Hundred Years of Hebrew Aviation” on the tail of the “Efroni” plane
The Commander of the IAF presented the pilot course graduates with the pilot wings they’ve been dreaming of
Friends and Family watching from the audience
Three long years to be an officer: Pilot Course 167 graduates get their wings
Tags: מסדר כנפיים , צוות אוויר , בסיס חצרים
After three years of hard work, a moment before they head out to their busy service in the IAF, the graduates of Pilot Course 167 enjoyed a moment of satisfaction: at an official ceremony, the graduates were awarded the pilot wings of their dreams by the Commander of the IAF. “Today, you are joining the conquerors of the sky and protectors of the Israel”
Lilach Gonen and Noa Fenigstein
After three years of anticipation and hard work, the big day of the cadets of Pilot Course 167 has arrived: the cadets became graduates as they marched on the graduation stage at the Hatzerim airbase today and received their pilot wings. The pilot wings ceremony, which symbolizes the start of their service as fighter pilots in the force, was held in the presence of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu; the Minister of Defense, Moshe (Boogie) Ya’alon; IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz; IAF Commande,r Major General Amir Eshel; Hatzerim Airbase Commander, Brigadier General Tal Kalman; and Flight School Commander, Colonel Shaul, alongside the families and friends of the graduates. “Now, it begins. The responsibility to protect the skies of state is being passed on to you”, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to the graduates. Recent actions are proof that we will not hesitate to harm those who threaten to harm us. Israel has to be able to defend herself from any threat, at any time. That is what we have done, and that is what we will do. You have a central role in intelligence, prevention, warning, and decision-making”.
Donning their new commissioned officer uniforms and with their hearts pounding, the graduates marched, among them two female soldiers, First Lieutenants A’ and N’, to the graduation plaza where they were presented with their pilot wings by the Commander of the IAF. “Dear graduates, today, you are joining the conquerors of the sky and the protectors of the Israel”, the commander of the force said to them in his speech. “Wearing the pilot wings close to your heart reflects a rare and significant meeting of dreams, determination, and ability. You are joined by a responsibility, both personal and national: A responsibility to execute a mission, a responsibility for human life, a responsibility for the perfection of the machine, and a responsibility for the fate of the nation”.
“A Crucial Component in the Strength of the IDF”
From now on, the graduates will be part of the Aerial Combat Division of the IDF and will serve in squadrons throughout the force in complex missions that will be invaluable for national security. “I expect you to stick to the mission and to execute it despite all difficulties”, said Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz. “Two days ago, we saw a vivid example of the pastoral atmosphere abruptly passing and turning into a sensitive situation. Soon, you will be in the cockpit, and the upper command of the IDF and the State of Israel will rely on you.”
“The current situation is intolerable and despite the difficulty, we will operate firmly and in different ways”, said the Minister of Defense today in his speech, in light of the tense week. “We will not accept terrorism drippings from the Gaza Strip, we will not allow the disruption of life in the South and we will respond aggressively to the violation of our sovereignty. If there isn’t quiet in Israel, there won’t be quiet in the Gaza Strip. The IAF is a crucial component in the strength of the IDF”.
167 Fighter Pilot Insignia
The traditional pilot wings ceremony was held on the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of aviation in Israel: exactly one hundred years ago, the French “Bleriot” plane landed in Israel, and started a new era in the skies over Israel. The anniversary events were inaugurated by First Lieutenant Shai, the valedictorian of the pilot course, who also received his pilot wings from the Prime Minister: In the morning of the exciting day, a ceremony was held at the empty graduation square, in which First Lieutenant Shai pasted a logo that read “A Hundred Years of Hebrew Aviation” on the tail of the T-6 Texas II “Efroni” plane, on which the cadets learned the secrets of flying. All planes in the force will eventually wear the same logo on their tail.
During the course, First Lieutenant Niv, who was also awarded his pilot wings this evening, was called to donate his bone marrow to an anonymous person. Today, that same anonymous person arrived at the ceremony and met the cadet who saved his life.