Eran Kahlon bears scars on his face and back caused by shrapnel from a misfired
mortar shell that nearly killed him on the Gaza Border in January
Kahlon also bears three stripes on his uniform that show how he
overcame his injuries to become Capt. of the Paratroopers’ 202nd
Kahlon will start his service as captain and is receiving his
first class of recruits Thursday.
Kahlon, who is 26, says he remained
motivated during his recovery because he always aspired to be a
But, to Kahlon, becoming a captain represents becoming a mentor,
especially if it saves lives and prevents accidents like his from occurring in
Kahlon was injured in January 2011 while his battalion
engaged three terrorists attempting to break through the Gaza border. A mortar
shell backfired, critically wounding Kahlon and gravely injuring Sgt. Nadav
As part of Kahlon’s recovery, he endured six months of
rehabilitation that he referred to as “tough.”
Kahlon concedes it was
more challenging convincing his family to support his dream of rejoining the
army to become captain of his battalion.
Now that he is starting to
fulfill his dream, Kahlon is excited to begin transforming his recruits into
soldiers with the belief that it is just as important to ensure his recruits
maintain their humanity as it is to mold them into fighters.
this, Kahlon spent the last six months hand-picking platoon leaders and
instructing them on how to train recruits so that his recruits remain
compassionate as they become soldiers.
While Kahlon says his recruits
must be expert shooters and athletic, he asserts it’s most important they remain
To accomplish this, Kahlon has asked his platoon leaders to
imagine that they are recruits. How would it feel? How would they regard their
superiors if they were recruits? Kahlon believes this will improve the character
of his whole battalion.
In addition to guiding his platoon leaders,
Kahlon acknowledges that his story of perseverance can affect his recruits,
especially those losing motivation.
“If someone wants to quit, and it
happens, I will take him to a small chat with me,” Kahlon says. “Maybe I will
convince someone to be a paratrooper when in another world maybe he couldn’t
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