Givati Brigade's new transport division.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The IDF’s Givati Infantry Brigade has a new transport division, which in times of war will bring fresh supplies to troops behind enemy lines and evacuate the dead and wounded under the cover of darkness.
“They come in the dark, quietly, and go where they need to go, quietly and quickly,” platoon commander Lt. Menachem Gal of the new transport division told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
It was after Operation Protective Edge
that the IDF realized the need for every Givati battalion to have an auxiliary company and for every auxiliary company to have such a mobile transport unit.
The new division, which has been in the use by special forces within Givati as well as the paratroopers for the past two years, will see soldiers not only evacuate the wounded or dead, but also bring gear and additional troops into enemy territory.
According to Gal there are almost 100 soldiers in the new division, which has four Jeep Rangers and four Hummers able to evacuate at least 10 soldiers each and bring in hundreds of kilograms of food and water or equipment.
“Everything that can improve the condition of troops in time of war is extremely important.
And that is the reason behind the division, be it bringing the troops water, equipment, or bringing back the dead or wounded.”
Gal told the Post
that the new division has had multiple drills to test the readiness of the troops, including a three-month course on learning about all the equipment they have and how to arrive to a location as quickly and quietly as possible.
“The biggest challenge is to keep the soldiers prepared, while most soldiers only have to deal with their weapons, the soldiers of this division have more tools that they need to work with,” Gal said, stressing that in wartime the greatest challenge is keeping quiet.
One drill four weeks ago in the northern town Harish, just inside the Green Line and an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, saw troops drill on evacuating the wounded to a helicopter waiting in a nearby forest.
“Helicopters can’t do the work quietly,” he said, “but within 15 minutes from when we got to them, the wounded were in the air.
Givati is the main infantry brigade stationed near the Gaza Strip, and according to Gal it should take less than 15 minutes to evacuate wounded troops in Gaza
, while in Lebanon or Syria it is likely to be very different due to the terrain.
As one of the first infantry brigades created with the country’s establishment it’s participated in many conflicts. After the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Givati was declared part of the Southern Command and stationed in the Gaza Strip area, and its reconnaissance battalion was honored in 2005 with a Medal of Distinguished Service for its work in Gaza.
In early August Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman visited a Givati exercise along with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir.
“You must be prepared for every development and every scenario, and this preparedness must be effective and swift. The strengths and abilities that I see here are very impressive and the division and the Givati brigade are part of the strike force that will play a significant part in combat,” he said.