Only In Israel

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Report 7

At least you can't say the last two weeks were boring...
Remember how I told you about the change between the course and the boot camp? Well, we returned two weeks ago only to discover that all the benefits of our course were taken away because "we didn't behave according to the trust put in us". So we went back to impossible times, screaming, incessant dropping to push ups, as well as trying to balance studying 14 hours a day.
This time however we've got to learn with some hot Radio-Transmission guides... and the word HOT doesn't even begin to describe those girls.
I mean, what is it in radio transmission that gets so many thin, high blonds to one spot?
Anyhow, learning was a bit more *interesting* with the aid of our new guides. I can say, atleast for myself I've studied a lot better, and had much more trouble falling asleep in the classes. After that week of torture, being treated as rookies in our week 1 in the military, we were surprised one evening to discover we were returned to our course schedule. No need to say, tommorow's morning check was p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Even the Sergeant couldn't find a single flaw in it.
And, ofcourse we had our pre-berret journey, which is the hardest of them all. It's a 25km journey, which is done in a crazy speed, I basicly ran all the way, to prepare us for the berret journey ahead. This was the first time we did it with the other platoon in our squadron, which meant more people. Basicly it was way more fun, more people, more equipment, an improved version of the journey.
At the end of the journey we got our tags, a great source of pride for us all, this was one step before the berret, which symbolises the ending of the boot camp and the basic training, and us turning into real soldiers, part of the artillery corps of the IDF.
Also, it was part of us becoming more and more like our commanders. First we got the berret badge. Then we got the red background (which symbolises the blood of the warriors, who died in battle, and basicly shows us being part of a combat branch of the IDF), now the tag. Next week, we're getting the two things left: the turqoise berret of the artillery corps, and the MLRS warrior badge.
The berret will be awarded in a ceremony in the participation of our parents, right after the berret journey. Which means they expect us to stand a hour in the sun, after walking-running for 6-7 hours. Earlier graduators described this ordeal with the phrase "people will be falling like flies". That would be interesting to check.
The rest of the artillery corps, specificaly the shell shovers will be leaving the base a few days after getting the berret. They'll be breaking the distance with their commanders, speaking with them as equals. We? We'll be guarding the base remaining there one week more than anyone else. Hey, atleast we have cooler weapons. Then we're expected to get our first "regilah" which means "ordinary", which means a WEEK OFF!
This is something every IDF soldier gets once in four months and now is our time to get it... see you then.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Report 6

And, as week 12 slides away, I'm getting more and more frustrated...
Instead of the kewl basic training stuff we did once, we now study most of the day, train at the evenings and spend all the free time we have on learning for the daily/weekly tests, and it's getting tougher and tougher to keep sanity.
I can't even believe I was hoping to get to the course so much. So, right, the Sergeant doesn't drop us to push ups as often as he used to. And we don't spend much time in field trainings, sleeping in the dirt with the scorpions, but it ain't much better now. Much more pressure, much more obligations, and much more efforts need to be put into the course.
And here I was thinking military tactics practice was difficult, trying to stay awake in a comfortable chair learning with a commander that just might take your time home away if you dare to fall asleep is a much bigger challange.
Not even discussing the tests.
They expect you to remember every little thing they said during the lessons, every meaningless bit of information is meant to be remembered. Fail three tests, and you lose your weekend home, and will spend a month in the military without going home.
But then again, now, I can see the end of it. Two more weeks of course, then a week of tests, then training and then I'm finished. I'm no longer a rookie, but a soldier. On the way there I'll have to earn my artillery corps beret, in a 32km journey. That will happen on the 17th. Till then, all I have to do is brace myself and stay awake in classes. That's my official goal now. Pass the two weeks of the course, get home, and then get back to the military to earn my beret and officialy complete the training part of my military life.
What's next? Next I'm going to start my service, either in the northern border serving in the position I learned as an MLRS operator, or in the territories, doing security jobs (guarding, checkpoints, terrorist arrests, ETC). Basicly, I prefer the second option. Not only because I don't feel like spending 4 more months learning/training with the MLRS, also because that's the reason I came to combat units in the first place. I mean, I didn't go around bullying my mom into signing to allow me to go to combat just to be stuck in some APC, waiting for a Syrian attack which will never come. But, then again, like everything else in the military, I'll probably end up where I don't wanna be. And hey, who knows, maybe just this once, they'll make an exception and will give me what I actualy want, instead of shoving me things I don't wanna do.
I honestly hope I'll have something interesting to post when I get home (sorry if this post got you down)...