Mazal tov Israel! Mazal tov IDF and mazal tov to the Israeli navy!
The newest addition to the Israeli submarine fleet is entering her new home – an Israeli port. The I.N.S Tannin (named after the biblical sea monster) is sleek and mysterious, even more so than her older sisters; she is also much more technologically advanced than her older sisters.
The new Tannin has large boots to fill; during the Six Day War (1967), the S class submarine I.N.S Tannin's captain received a Medal of Courage for his and his crews' actions during an operation against the Egyptians.
As a former submariner, waiting on the dock, just before the ceremony begins and watching all the preparations takes me back to my good ol' days of surfing the underwater currents. And then, seeing her here, entering the port all shiny and new after years of planning, building and sea trials brings tears to my eyes.
A new and improved submarine is exciting on many levels. On the security and defense level of course, we have just strengthened our punch and bettered our eyes and ears with one magnificent machine. Secondly, a new submarine is a new challenge for the soldiers and officers of the Israeli navy. Life on a submarine is something other people cannot comprehend. Sometimes soldiers who have served on tanks think they know what it's all about, but they don't. Submariners do not "serve" on a submarine – they live in her and with her. The sub is their home, their private room, their public coffee shop, their life line and their weapon when needed.
An Israeli submariner spends almost five years of his life being in the submarine fleet, so the connection is strong.
As opposed to other IDF units, the submarine unit is a closed group. The effect of no sun or fresh air, sometimes for weeks, results in a unique type of human connection between the submariners, and of course between the submariners and their boat.
Submariners live the submarine everyday for the rest of their lives - even if they have been out of uniform for over 18 years (like me). One thing a submariner will never forget is the air of the submarine. It has a unique and specific aroma and density to it that could never be explained and could never be analyzed. It’s a welded mix of machines and humans, just like a submarine – a united entity which is more than the sum of its parts.
The I.N.S Tannin is now entering her new home, ready to take on any task she will be given, ready to smile or show her fangs if and when needed.
So mazal tov Israel for accepting this amazing piece of technology and human team work into your family.