Yes, it’s been a while since my last post, War Week. Here’s a small update on what’s been going on with me.
After finishing War Week, we became certified warriors. Following the completion, we had a celebratory breakfast before we started moving out.
Believe it or not, this was extremely bittersweet. We busted our asses for the previous 8 months to get to this point. Now that it had come, it was depressing as hell. Why? A bunch of guys, including some of my closest friends, shipped out to squad commander school and other courses. Not two or three guys from each platoon. About 30% of the company, gone. As much as the morning was meant to be celebratory, many took it as: “Hope you enjoyed going through hell together over the last 8 months. Say bye. Now.” After spending so much time with these guys, it was weird not having them there.
We weren’t given much time to dwell on their absence. Those of us who remained with the company were moving out as well. We finished training, we were finally leaving the training base. We were now warriors . We were finally joining the battalion. At that exact time, however, our battalion was coming off the line and moving into battalion exercises for three months. Put differently, we weren’t done training.
My platoon was the first to get to the new base. Taking his first look at our new home, my friend summarized it best by saying, “This looks like a good place to kill yourself.” Sadly, this is the exact emotion that the base evokes. Imagine a ghost town in the middle of nowhere. Now turn up the heat. That’s our base. Getting off the bus and immediately feeling the hottest weather Israel has to offer was a shock to us. We couldn’t understand why it was hotter than the desert but it was. By a lot.
More changes in the company started taking place, helping mark our transformation into “warriors.” Or, more accurately put, soldiers who now have rights. During training, using a cell phone, eating and smoking were allowed only with explicit permission. No longer… We walk around with cell phones in our pockets and we eat whenever we want. Even better, there’s always music playing in the company and we’re not required to be in full uniform all the time (Chezi Bet- Boots, OD pants, t-shirt). It’s hard to believe that the mundane can cause such incredible boosts in morale but it can. So, in the meantime, the battalion is sweating out these exercises and waiting for our next job.