IDF: Parachuting is still necessary

"An army needs to be ready for every possible and potential scenario."

yosef goodman gun 298 (photo credit: IDF)
yosef goodman gun 298
(photo credit: IDF)
While parachuting behind enemy lines might seem obsolete, it is still a skill IDF soldiers need to learn, a high-ranking IDF officer said Monday in response to public criticism that military parachuting was archaic and outdated. St.-Sgt. Yosef Goodman - a member of the Paratrooper Brigade's elite Maglan unit - was killed last Thursday in a parachuting accident during a routine training exercise in a base south of Ashdod. The accident raised the question of whether it was still necessary for IDF troops to learn to parachute, considering that the last known IDF parachuting mission was during the Sinai campaign in 1956. The army, however, dismissed the criticism and on Monday a senior member of the IDF Ground Forces Command told The Jerusalem Post that parachuting was an invasion technique that the army would most probably reuse in the future. "An army needs to be ready for every possible ad potential scenario," the officer said, referring to the US Army, which parachuted an entire brigade into Afghanistan during the war there. "Over the past five years, other armies have jumped and parachuted [behind enemy lines]. Just because we haven't doesn't mean we'll never have to." The senior officer said that according to the overall number of casualties, parachuting was a far safer means of transportation than flying in a helicopter. In 1997, 73 soldiers were killed when two IAF helicopters collided in midair in northern Israel. "Just look at the numbers," he said. "The last casualty in a parachuting accident was in the eighties. Since then there have been dozens more casualties in helicopter accidents." Parachuting, the officer said, is a "means of transportation" just like a tank or a plane. "There are many means of transportation like tanks and helicopters to get soldiers from one place to another," the officer said. "But every normal military like the US and Britain also uses parachutes."