Next Generation is Here

Photo by: Air Defense School

Next Generation is Here

Photo by: Air Defense School

Next Generation is Here

Photo by: Air Defense School

Next Generation is Here

Photo by: Air Defense School

After months of training, new officers joined IAF Air Defense Division and will soon become commanders in the different batteries
Vered Talala

New combat officers joined the Air Defense Division earlier today and will take command positions in the batteries. The graduates went through vigorous trainings as Air Defense combat soldiers, cadets in Commanders Course, cadets in Officers’ Course and during the past few months studied to become Air Defense officers.

They went out for field weeks where they practiced command, design and deployment of batteries and deepened their knowledge of the Air Defense weapon systems: “Iron Dome”, “Patriot” and “Arrow”. In addition, the cadets learnt to deal with pressure and fatigue.

The commanders in the Air Defense Division face many challenges. “In the present course, we focused on the lessons we draw from Operation ‘Protective Edge’ and the preparations toward the next challenges”, explains Col. Ran Kochav, Commander of IAF Air Defense School. “We combined field training with simulator training. This is the first course to train with the new ‘Arrow’ missile simulator which was recently absorbed in the school”.

After receiving their new insignia, the new officers will command dozens of soldiers in the “Iron Dome”, “Patriot” and “Arrow” batteries.
“Professionalism is among the leading values in our school”, said Col. Kochav. “The cadets must also acquire the ability to command an interception after a complex deployment or deciding what systems to use to defend a certain area”.

“Now I understand”
One of the combat soldiers to step on the parade ground in Air Defense School is the cadet Sharon Stern, a new immigrant from New-York who has come a long way before receiving the long-awaited insignia. “No one knows I’m a new immigrant unless I tell them”, she jokes. She came to Israel four years ago and was exposed to rocket threat for the first time in Operation “Pillar of Defense”. “The operation made me want to be an ‘Iron Dome’ combat soldier. I draft in the army and a year later I became a part of the battery”.

The difficulty in understanding the language or adapting to Israel did not prevent her from graduating Officers’ Course. “My commanders always believed in me and supported me. Now I understand the responsibility of a commander in the division and wish to imbue my soldiers with motivation”.

Unlike Stern, the cadet Gil’ad Shapira grew up in a family full of officers, but he was still indecisive about joining Officers’ Course. “I wanted to know I’m doing this from my own true will”, he says. “During the training I was exposed to the significance of the division”.