Combined ground officers drill finishes ahead of 50th anniv. of Bahad 1

'We came here to better ourselves and the IDF.'

SOLDIERS PARTAKE in the IDF’s combined ground officers course on the Bahad 1 base in the Negev (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
SOLDIERS PARTAKE in the IDF’s combined ground officers course on the Bahad 1 base in the Negev
The final three-week exercise of the IDF’s combined ground officers course ended on Thursday ahead of the soldiers’ graduation in two weeks, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced.
The aim of the drill is to train and improve the collaboration between the different branches and corps. During the drill, cadets from the infantry, engineering, armored, and artillery corps performed complex combat drills and combat techniques in closed and urban areas.
While the drill focused on infantry commanders, it also included tanks from the nearby Shizafon armored corps base as well as artillery batteries, fighter jets and helicopters. Cadets “captured” enemy villages, soldiers, and rocket launchers.
In a February briefing, a senior officer in the ground forces said that in the next war ground forces will need to be deployed to conquer enemy territory and destroy its weapons stores – especially rocket launchers – in order to minimize the number of missiles and rockets the enemy can fire onto the homefront.
Cadets from the Ground Officers Course will complete their training in about two weeks and will stand on the parade ground in a ceremony marking 50 years of the IDF Officers School. The ceremony will be attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
The IDF’s Officers School, commanded by Col. Gur Schreibman, has been situated in the middle of the desert, just a short drive from Mitzpe Ramon off of Highway 40, since 1968.
Known as Bahad 1 – an acronym for “basis hadraha,” meaning “training base” – cadets spend several months living in gray concrete buildings built in the brutalist architectural style.
“We make officers here,” Schreibman told reporters at Bahad 1 on Thursday, adding that despite a decrease in motivation by Israeli youth to join combat units he has not met any cadet “who has no motivation.”
A Related Video You May Like:
While the IDF’s draft rate last August stood at just 67%, 15% of combat recruits would qualify for the officers course, according to data presented on Thursday.
According to one senior officer, the IDF is working on tools to improve the screening capabilities of potential officers and commanders.
“These new tools enable us to cope better with the shortage of commanders created as a result of the shortening of service,” he explained. “The company commander knows the hobbies and history of his soldiers already on the first day of basic training – who is most experienced and has the most potential.”
“We’d rather they serve a longer time as an officer than just as a soldier,” he said.
According to Schreibman, the amount of cadets who drop out of the rigorous course has also decreased. While he did not provide numbers for 2017, the officer pointed out that in 1989 the percentage of dropouts was between 20-27% and in 2014 was between 4-5%.
“We are here for a reason,” said one female officer who spoke to reporters. “We came here to better ourselves and the IDF.”