IDF Chief of Staff Award goes to 9th Armored Battalion 'of the people'

9th Armored Battalion receives Chief of Staff Award.

The 401st "Iron Tracks" Brigade (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
The 401st "Iron Tracks" Brigade
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
The 9th Armored Battalion received the prestigious IDF Chief of Staff Award on Monday for excellent performance in 2020.
The award is given to outstanding units, special projects, and units that express IDF values and show leadership.
Lt.-Col. Netanel (Nati) Lasri, commander of the battalion, said that his unit received the award not because it was special, but because of what the IDF’s Armored is known for: they follow orders in a strict manner.
The 401st "Iron Tracks" Brigade/ IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICEThe 401st "Iron Tracks" Brigade/ IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE
“We are a disciplined battalion,” Lasri said. “We follow orders, directives, and procedures. We know how to maintain a military day-to-day routine, and in every task we receive we leave a mark – and do it in the best way possible. When we carry out tasks, we are innovative, and we always think about how to improve our methods.”
This was an eventful year for the unit, which as an armored battalion constantly moved from exercises to operational activities.
Two incidents during the year made headlines. The first was in May, when a commander in the battalion was severely injured in a ramming attack in the Hebron area. Soldiers from the battalion managed to neutralize the perpetrator.
The other incident was during the summer, when the battalion was stationed in the southern Golan Heights and the IDF found explosives that were placed near the border with Syria by the Quds Force’s Unit 840, an elite Iranian group that usually operates outside Iran against Western targets. According to Lasri, the battalion was active in dismantling the threat.
The 401st "Iron Tracks" Brigade/ IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICEThe 401st "Iron Tracks" Brigade/ IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE
The award is also being given this year to units that managed to maintain their operational performance despite corona restrictions.
According to Lasri, the 9th Battalion did not suffer from any COVID-19 outbreak.
“We only had a few cases of the virus,” he said. “We managed to do so because we were strict in keeping the rules and the capsules. Because of that, only a handful of people were isolated, and we managed to keep our operational routine activity.”
Lasri also mentioned that at this point, more than 85% of the unit received the vaccine, which makes them a vaccinated unit.
Among the others who received the award on Monday were the elite Golani reconnaissance unit, the elite Shayetet 13 navy commandos, the Moran unit, and the 504th special unit.
Lasri took pride in that unlike the special elite units, his received the award despite being an “ordinary unit.”
“We are the only battalion among those who receive the award that is actually part of ‘the people’s army’,” he said. “The 9th Battalion is a battalion of the people — of the people of Israel. What makes us special is that we are ordinary, and we do things the best way we can.”