Two months after taking office, IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, made his first official visit to the Nevatim Air Force Base
Accompanied by Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, Commander of the Air Force, Gantz was received by department heads, base commanders and pilots course cadets. Behind them stood the aircrafts of every squadrons of the base.
Maj. Gen. Gantz visited the square holding each of the planes along with an underground hangar, each of which were quite familiar to the new Chief of Staff, considering his previous experience with the Air force.
In 1980, when he was deputy company commander in the paratroopers, he participated in helicopter raid in Lebanon. Nine years later, in 1989, he was appointed commander of the Air Force’s commando unit.
“I have known the Air force already for many years, of course from ground aspects, but also culturally and operationally”, said the Chief of Staff to the Air Force Magazine. “The Air Force is no stranger to me and is even very dear to me”.
Later in the visit, Gantz planted an olive tree in one of the base squares, thus continuing his discussion with Senior Air Force officials.
“It’s impossible to come to know the Air Force over the course of just a few hours, but the Chief of Staff is familiar with the Air Force from before”, said Air Force commander Nehushtan. “The Air Force is part of any operational mission, in every order. He is a major player in IDF planning, both in fighting and peace time. I think the chief of staff was impressed by the sharpness of the Air Force and its missions, even though he knows them well”.