Being in operational squadron is not easy. Working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.
My first job at the squadron was as the officer of adjutant. I was responsible of the squadron’s staff, administration and daily operation. That job was ok…. Yes, just ok… I did that job for a year and a half. But the “highlight” of my time in the squadron was as the training officer. I was responsible and supervising the pilots’ operational flights, schedule and training.
As an operational squadron we took part in a lot of military operations. I use to sit hours planning the squadron schedule, making sure all the pilots getting the right training, enough sleep and doing their every day jobs.
After a few months in the job it happened… The 2006 Lebanon War started. The war started in July 2006 and ended a month later. It was a CRAZY time. I was literally working 24 hours a day for 34 days. Talking about sleepless nights… We had teams on hold all day that were launched all the time (and then I had to find a new teams to be on standby…).
In the IAF we count a lot on our reservists. They have a big part in the daily missions (a squadron can’t really work all year long relaying only on her soldiers. It’s just impossible). But when its time its time, they always gonna be there to help.
That’s what makes Israel so special. The minute the war started I got phone calls from people who wanted to come and take part in the mission. THEY called me! I didn’t have to beg for people to come and train or take the night missions, they just volunteered. The atmosphere was incredible (hard as it can be). The squadron was full with people 24/7.
But then one day the worse thing we could think of happened… It was just another day, the Squadron Leader called me to his office and told me that one of the pilots’ brother (one of my friend’s brother) was killed in action. The crazier part was that one of our teams that were in the air saw the whole thing. I was shocked. He asked me to stay while he was telling my friend what happened and asked me to escort him back home to his family. Eventually my friend told me he’s fine and asked me not to come (couldn’t fight him about that…..). The whole squadron went to the funeral. Such a sad day. But I can’t even describe the love he got from everyone and that just filled my heart.
The war was over. Things started to go back to normal….