The Israeli Navy is celebrating 68 years of activity and like good friends tend to do, we decided to seize the opportunity to laugh at our friends at sea. We mean, with them. A pilot and a naval officer attempt to prove – which branch is the best of all?

Zohar Boneh | Translation: Ofri Aharon

The air and sea have always been interdependent and the cause for much human curiosity and adventure. Two kingdoms man has successfully conquered. Today, the IAF and IN work together and apart with a mutual purpose – to protect Israel.

So yes, both branches belong to the same country and the same IDF, but their differences are immense. In honor of the Navy’s 68th birthday we have decided to truly understand – which branch is better? We managed to persuade two brave officers to battle head to head for the respected title of the: “Golden Beret”: Capt. Guy, a combat helicopter pilot from the IAF and Capt. Dor Cohen, a naval officer and deputy commander of “Herev” (Sword) the Navy Missile Boat.

“In all honesty, before enlisting, I wanted to go to Flight School. What can I do, it has this sort of halo to it. There is no parent that wouldn’t want their child to be a pilot”, admitted Capt. Cohen. As an IAF Magazine reporter, I liked him already. “Now, after being in the Navy for a few years and meeting pilots, there is no doubt that it’s way better to be a naval officer. We’re more unified and aim for success, the love we have for each other is no coincidence, it’s the personality of the unit. We work together, not apart”. And that’s where he lost me.

Happy Birthday to the Navy

Photo by: Ziv Koren

Half an hour and you’ll be back at the squadron
when you compare a ship that holds 50 crew members of which 10 are naval officers and an aircraft that holds only a few aircrew members, I’m not sure what that says about both options. On the one hand, sitting with just one other person in the cockpit for two hours requires a lot of conversation topics. On the other hand, 50 soldiers, officers and NCOs that are compressed into the narrow space on a ship, sounds challenging.
So even with the love the naval crew members have for one another, life on a ship can be quite difficult. “The most upsetting thing about being in the Navy is that when you’re on a ship, you haven’t spoken to your girlfriend for a month and you’re wearing combat uniform”, said Capt. Guy. “From the aircraft everyone looks like ants. Plus, it only takes you half an hour to return to the squadron”.

But, we should also talk about the Navy’s advantages. First of all, they get to wear their fancy white dress uniforms three times a year. On such days, we get to see these Navy personnel in full splendor. “Other than that, they’re always on the beach, they have a strange language that only they understand”, added Capt. Guy. As such, the most admired character by the Navy is Popeye, who with no doubt deserves the Chief of Staff Medal of Appreciation of appreciation himself. Their missions are mysterious, fascinating – and especially so secretive that we don’t really know about them.


Happy Birthday to the Navy

Photo by: David Greenwald

It isn’t easy to connect between the sky and sea
Even though both of the officers are sure that they can prove their branch is better, it seems that we won’t have an answer in the near future. The IAF and Navy probably won’t ever answer this question, what must be part of the beauty of the relationship and what allows us to work together, with lots of healthy competition.

Its important we remember that even though there’s great controversy and great importance, for example who could win an arm wrestle, a pilot or naval officer, the arguments are always related to protecting our country. From the sea and air, the two arms work together to ensure the protection of Israel and its citizens.

The cooperation between the arms is close. The IAF’s transport helicopters conducts rescue and aid missions in the heart of the sea and there’s even a squadron for maritime helicopters, the “Defenders of the West” Squadron is completely dedicated to Naval missions and are used as “eyes” beyond view range for missile boats. Maritime patrol missions are also executed by UAVs and the “Sea Scan”jet. Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, has stated before “It isn’t easy to connect between the sea and sky. And we learned how to do so correctly. We broadened the horizon of the navy and the IAF”.

Therefore, today, on the Israeli Navy’s 68th birthday, we, the IAF, salute and wish you a Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday to the Navy

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