New F-16 navigator: I'm privileged to be in IAF

New IAF pilots receive wings; Gantz: In the face of changing reality in the Middle East, we must be more prepared than ever.

IAF navigator 370 (photo credit: IDF Spokesman)
IAF navigator 370
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman)
Lt. B. is one of dozens of Israel Air Force cadets who received their wings on Thursday at a ceremony at Hatzerim Air Base, which was attended by political and military leaders.
Shortly before the ceremony, Lt. B., who will be a navigator in an F-16i fighter jet for the next nine years, told The Jerusalem Post he felt privileged to be where is today.
The new navigator, together with other pilots of the air force, is to form the main and speediest response force to the mammoth regional-security challenges facing Israel.
“The air force is the most efficient military branch,” he said. “It’s a big honor to be here. I came to give myself to the IDF. It was a long journey to get here. I feel like I belong,” he said.
He completed three years of intensive training before getting his wings on Thursday.
Lt. B. is to fly out of Ramon air base. He‘s to sit behind the fighter jet pilot, and handle a range of critical flight responsibilities.
These include operating the weapon systems, leading fighter jet formations and handling complex aerial maneuvers.
“The plane is at the forefront of the IDF, and has amazing technology on board,” he said. “It carries out all of the missions that the IAF requires, from airto- air missions, air-toground, various attacks and interceptions. And it performs these functions at a very high level,” he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the pilots, “You must be ready for the moment you will be called upon to actuate your abilities and strike those who seek to disrupt our lives here, and who are working tirelessly to arm themselves.
The skies of Israel are covered these days with threats and challenges, near and far. We’re dealing with terror organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who are arming themselves all of the time for the day they will shatter the calm of the southern residents, as occurred just this week...with the warmongering Hezbollah in the north, and with an unrestrained regime that is slaughtering its citizens in Syria.”
At the same time, Ya’alon said, “Our eyes are following developments in Iran, where a new president has been elected with old ambitions: To gallop toward the possession of nuclear weapons and to threaten the fate of the only democracy in the Middle East and the region, and of the entire Western world.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz told the pilots, “The region is shaking, from south to north. Syria is hemorrhaging blood, and in Lebanon, the fire has begun to catch the edge of Nasrallah’s robe. In the face of this changing reality, we must be prepared, coordinated and alert, more than ever. You, the graduates, have from now on an inseparable part in safeguarding our readiness against these challenges.”