I'll be honest with you. Before I was drafted, I don't think I really considered just how long and intense the training for infantry is. I thought of what it meant to be in combat, to do checkpoint duty, raids in the West Bank, arrest operations, border duty, and so on. I didn't think about the masaot, or the obstacle course, or the massive company-wide attack drills. I didn't consider the months and months of having to use my stopwatch to time my every action.
The way the army system works is that when you are entering one phase of your training, the group previous to you is entering the next phase. Pretty common sense. So, I'm in the November induction class, which is now in Advanced Training, and the previous draft, August, is now doing border duty (kav). Golani's kav is a certain sandy locale, right now.
I tried very hard to get into the August draft with a friend of mine from ulpan (intensive Hebrew course), but the army didn't take me. That draft date is commonly packed, and so due to having too many people, they delayed me to November. I was pretty disappointed to not go into Golani with him, but I figured it all had a purpose. Well, we both ended up in the same battalion and everything (12 - Barak), so it has been great having him tell me about what I'm about to do before I do it.
Why am I talking about this all of a sudden? As I said, Golani is guarding a contentious zone right now, and that means my buddy is there too. Recently I talked to him for quite a while, asking all my questions about Advanced and kav, and him telling me what it's like being out there. During a pause in the conversation, after him telling me about a certain stake-out he was in, I had an unexpected rush of admiration for him. I told him that "he had finished all the crap, did all the masaot, ate the dirt... and now he has his brown beret and is finally doing what he came to do." He accepted my compliment, and told me to stay strong and I'll be there before I know it.
And that's just the point. I came to the army to be where he is, to guard Israel's borders, even if that means being in some pretty scary places. I just can't wait to get this training over with and do something. I feel sometimes like I'm just waiting. During college I felt an intense feeling that I was waiting for something to happen, waiting to do something... and that's probably just one reason why I decided to move to Israel and join the IDF.
I mean, being in a constantly engaged army like the Israel Defense Force is doing something, right? I know I have to do this training, and as I say to my friends in my unit, "I'm ready in my head and heart, not my body." But that doesn't mean it isn't hard knowing that my buddy is out there actively defending Israel, and I'm still on base.
Two and a half more months...