During the “Second Lebanon” War, the IDF fought against the Hezbollah Terror Organization. While Israel marks a decade since the war began, we chose to display the photos taken during the war that tell its story: the tension, the challenge, the smells and sounds
IAF Site | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida
In those days, 10 years back in time, many aircraft took off for various missions in Israel’s skies and outside its borders, infantry forces fought in Lebanon and the home front became the battle front.
Throughout the 33 days of combat, the IAF’s units and squadrons were documented via camera and about a year after the war, all of the photos were collected from IAF personnel and IAF Magazine Photographers for an exhibition that featured the people behind the operations and the small, personal moments behind the scenes.
For the IAF’s Fighter Division, days became nights while the squadrons performed their various missions non-stop: sky defense and aerial supremacy, striking targets and utilization of different weapons. Alongside the mandatory service squadron members, reserve and emergency stationed servicemen also took up arms.
The “Peten” (“Apache”) Squadrons took a central part in the campaign from day one. Thousands of sorties and hundreds of strikes on terror targets were credited to the two squadrons. There were helicopters in the air at any given moment, some conducted patrol and ground assistance missions while others attacked terror targets.
In the “Second Lebanon” War, the “Karnaf” (C-130) aircraft conducted, among other missions, provision transportation: dropping food and supplies to the infantry forces at the front. This mission is a very dangerous one for the aircraft and its crew.
The UAV Division personnel provided quality intelligence in real time for the IAF and IDF. They escorted every operational activity from the sky, warned the infantry forces of what was to come and directed aircraft to their targets.
In the photo: combatants in the belly of a helicopter. The war was an opportunity for the transport helicopter squadrons to prove their abilities: throughout the war in Lebanon, the IAF’s transport helicopters performed many extractions and rescues while putting themselves in harm’s way and risking their lives in order to save lives and faced many challenges as a result of their intensive round the clock activity in the battlefield.
During the war, about 13 surveillance elements were activated, which assisted in the identification of rocket launchers and rocket fire and communicated real time intelligence to the ground forces and control personnel. By means of the surveillance system installed on the belly of the “Tzofit” (Beechcraft King-Air) the Aerial Scouts distinguished between noninvolved targets and enemy targets, so the intelligence was immediately translated into precision strikes.
The “Second Lebanon” War was characterized by rockets fired by Hezbollah towards the IDF and Israel territory. In the first days of the campaign, Aerial Defense Division “Patriot” Missile Batteries were deployed in Haifa and protected infrastructure sites and strategic factories.
The “Nachshon” (Gulfstream V) was supposed to complete a series of tests of the Intelligence System installed in it and then become operational, but things did not end up as planned. The war caught the squadron members and project in the midst of the delivery flights from “ELTA Systems” to the IAF. The advanced intelligence system ended up facing the most difficult test in the book – war.
The Technical Division Personnel and ground crews worked around the clock in order to make sure that the IAF’s aircraft take off and return safely. They armed, tested and prepared the aircraft for takeoff and did everything they could in order to keep the aircrews safe, all while undertaking physical and mental challenges.
Throughout the war, the “Ayit” (A-4 Skyhawk) jets joined the “Karnaf’s” (Hercules C-130) and scattered hundreds of thousands of manifestos over Lebanese villages and towns in order to warn the local population from IAF attacks.
The late Maj. Daniel Gomez in his last photo. Daniel was one of CH-53 pilots who were on the helicopter that transported combatants to deep Lebanese territory on August 12, 2006, two days before the war ended. The helicopter was shot down.
The “Second Lebanon” War took the lives of 121 IDF soldiers, 10 from the IAF: Col. Tzvi Luft, Maj. Sami Ben-Naim, Maj. Daniel Gomez ,Maj. Nisan Shalev, Maj. Ran (Yehoshua) Kochva, Capt. Tom Farkash, Snr. Sgt. Maj. Ron Mashiach, Snr. Sgt. Maj. Dov Shternshos Master Sgt. Keren Tendler, and Staff Sgt. Tal Amgar. May their memory be a blessing.