Soldiers speak: IDF tank crew on the role they play in protecting Israel

A lone soldier from Los Angeles, a tank gunner and more speak out about their dedication to protecting the Jewish state in both times of peace and times of war.

By
February 13, 2019 14:56
3 minute read.
IDF tank

Soldiers from the IDF 401th Armored Brigade in training. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

 
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It is “War Week” for the 401 Brigade of the Israeli Army. The soldiers are participating in a series of intense drills, preparing troops to battle Hezbollah and handle an emergency escalation in northern Israel.


Soldiers drill in the northern Jordan Valley because the terrain is like that in Lebanon. In the high hills and mountains, the soldiers and their commanders practice evacuating wounded crew members under live fire, firing from tanks and various other armored vehicles, and other dangerous encounters with the enemy. The intensive drills include cooperation between the Armored Corps, Artillery Corps, Infantry units, the Air Force, Intelligence, Combat Engineering and more.


Israel Defense Force 401th Armored Brigade training exercise. Credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT

War Week drills mark the peak of the training period, which requires a large amount of forces. But the goal, said a spokesperson for the IDF, is that at the end of the training, the soldiers will be “undoubtedly prepared” for the next battle.


A team of four soldiers who serve together as a tank crew in the 46th battalion offered The Jerusalem Post their first-person perspective on War Week and their role in protecting Israel.

Tanks from the IDF 401th Brigade in training.  Credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT

Tal Soffer
Tank Commander

Lone soldier, Los Angeles

My job is to lead the tank in combat, and to daily train the combat soldiers in my tank so they are prepared to protect our country.


Until now, I have spent my service being trained in order to be able to lead my squadron under any circumstance. Having a squadron of only three soldiers, not including me, helps us get to know each other well and learn to work with each other on a very high level. We are currently in the operational unit of the Armored Corps, which really allows me to make a difference.



Noam Ezra
Loader


Loaders are trained to load the shells into the main gun in a short amount of time. It’s intense, but it is also fulfilling and satisfying.


My job is also to repair malfunctions in the weapons, communications and other systems in the turret.


There are situations in which we will be in the tank for two to five days without leaving, preparing for any unexpected challenges. We must learn how to work and live together in a stuffy, confined space. Regardless of the difficulties, we always have positive attitudes and a good time.


Tanks are not easy machines to operate, but they are powerful and lead the troops in war. I am proud to say that Israel has an amazing Armored Corps consisting of amazing people.



Israel Defense Force soldiers vow to protect the Jewish State during "War Week" training. Credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT

Aviel Mualmi
Gunner


The 46th battalion in the Armored Corps is known for the powerful and significant impact we have on the battlefield. We provide speed, protection, fire power, advanced technology, precision and more.


My job in the tank is to shoot in a short time and with maximum efficiency.


The responsibilities of a tank crew are endless but incredibly important. We protect the citizens of Israel and maintain a feeling of safety throughout the country. There is nothing better than being in a tank crew, and due to the long periods of time that we spend together, the crew automatically becomes your family.

Oded Tubul
Driver


Being a driver carries a lot of responsibilities, including driving to the firing position in war, advancing to dangerous territories with the huge metal machinery, and conquering any type of terrain. The job is insanely satisfying and fulfilling, and I realize how crucial my job is daily.


I am lucky to be able to operate such an advanced armored vehicle with precise firing abilities and metal protection for my tank crew.


I am proud to say that I continuously take part in the protection of my country.

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