The New Officers: Graduates of Course 168 Receive Their Insignia

Photo courtesy of Guy Ashash

The New Officers: Graduates of Course 168 Receive Their Insignia

“The IAF is famous for values of excellence”

Photo courtesy of Guy Ashash

The New Officers: Graduates of Course 168 Receive Their Insignia

“We left the cockpit for a year and we went to school”,

Photo courtesy of Guy Ashash

The New Officers: Graduates of Course 168 Receive Their Insignia

“The officer insignia on your shoulders symbolize a great privilege alongside a heavy responsibility”

Photo courtesy of Guy Ashash

After three years of hard work, the graduates of Course 168 received their officer insignia and academic degrees. Amid the public debate over the defense budget, the ceremony was held in a rather modest fashion, without an air show. On Thursday, the graduates will receive their pilot wings.

Noa Fenigstein

A moment before they receive their pilot wings, the graduates of IAF Pilot Course 168 received their officer insignia last night. It was only a few months ago that they marched on the graduation stage, as the older classmates graduated and received their pilot wings-this time it was their turn. “The officer insignia on your shoulders symbolize a great privilege alongside a heavy responsibility”, said Brigadier General Tal Kalman, the Commander of Hatzerim airbase, to the young officers. “The privilege is that of joining the ranks of IDF officers and the responsibility is that of ensuring the continued existence of the State of Israel”.

Amid the public debate over defense budget and amid the security situation, a modest ceremony was held without the traditional airshow. “Security, economic and societal challenges stand before us as a society at this time”, said Colonel Shaul, commander of the flight school, to the officers who will officially become aircrew members on Thursday. “The whole IAF will continue to be the main defender of the people of Israel. Now it’s your turn to take the reins”.

“The IAF is famous for values of excellence”

In addition to their officer insignia, the graduates were presented with fruits of their labor for which they worked just as hard: an academic degree from Ben Gurion University in the Negev, which they received in the presence of Karnit Flug, the Governor of the Central Bank of Israel, who gave a lecture to the guests. “The IAF is famous for values of excellence and professionalism”, said Colonel Shaul. “The higher education is a necessary condition to standing on the graduation stage, receiving pilot wings and creating a generation of quality soldiers”.

While studying at the flight school, the cadets hit the books for a year of education and complete a BA in Economics, Politics and Government; Mathematics and Computer Science or Management Information Systems. “We left the cockpit for a year and we went to school”, recalls First Lieutenant Omri, who is graduating as a combat pilot. “We learned to ask questions, we grew up and we got to expand our horizons-qualities that are important even in the new world we are stepping into”.

 

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