Monday, April 13, 2009

Still Waiting For Something Real

Maybe this is premature of me to say, but I'm feeling a bit stymied in my motivations in the IDF.  The training done on base, and in the field, before you do anything remotely real is six months.  In terms of armies, I don't think that's abnormally long at all to change a civilian into a professional soldier.  But, for me, it's seeming to take years, not months.

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...


Karl Newman said...

Ever since I was in junior high, I wanted to be a submariner. I spent more time reading books about submarines than I did homework. So once I graduated high school, I joined the Navy with a guarantee for submarine school and off I went. After finishing boot camp and sub school, they gave me what I attack submarine on the West Coast. Alright! Sea time! Port calls in the Philippines, Japan and Australia! Hunting Russians!

Then I got to Pearl Harbor and found out my boat had just begun an overhaul. Meaning she was going to be in the shipyard for a very long time. Over a year. No sea time. No PI, Japan or Australia. No hunting Russians. Just work, heat and dirt. NOT what I joined the Navy for. It was another fourteen months before I finally got to sea. After that I got plenty of sea time and went some places and did some things....and got tired of spending over 200 days a year underwater in a steel tube. The bright side of spending all that time in the yards was that I knew that class of submarine better than most because I had seen one torn apart and put back together. In the long run, it was beneficial.

So....why am I telling you all this? Weeelll....first of all, the grass ain't always greener where you're going. In fact, where you're going, there won't be much grass at all. Second, everybody has to pay their dues before they get to run with the big dogs. You're getting there. Use your training time to make yourself the best rifleman you can be. Your life and the lives of your buddies will depend on it because you are going to a combat zone and you might get shot at. Third? Well, you did ask for feedback and I love to talk. :)

Oh, one more thing. Much of my time in the active duty Navy was tough. You will have tough days too. But here I am at the tail end of my career, waiting on my retirement papers from the reserve, and I look back on those times with a lot of fondness.

Be safe, Private Brothers.

Karl Newman

Jewish Warrior said...

I find this post funny as you are are "tiring" after 6 months of training while I am at an institution where it takes 4 YEARS to get to the real army as an officer. We don't even spend all our time on the military part, we have most of our time on Academics which really sucks even more. So for me I am counting too till my distance ends, 39 days to go. It will be nice when our 327 days of distance are over. Your life can always be worse. I have been in the army almost a year and am no where near even close to where you are militarily you can take that as solace.

For me to keep motivated here I just think back to how excited I was to be where I am now and how hard I worked to get here. I know you must have been excited to get to go to the IDF and if you think back to that excitement you can draw off that excitement to keep yourself going. Some days will be dull, some will be painful but if you embrace each day as what it is they will suck a little bit less. Also you can tell your self, at least I dont go to West Point.

Class of 2012

Anonymous said...

as long as u come home alive bro is all that matters! We love u very much

Tim Curtiss said...

Be careful what you wish for, Danny...