Ok, so here we go…. I just had the easiest/most boring/craziest week in the IAF (Israeli Air Force). This week was my processing week, kinda like my first week on my first base. I did a ton of Interviews and Tests. Mostly however I just sat around dieing of heat and high humidity. I have never in my life been so hot doing nothing. If you didn’t know I have lived my whole life in Colorado or New Mexico…and there we don’t have this thing called humidity. Well here is the week in Review.
On Sunday we were supposed to arrive on base at 0900. My base is called the Techi and its right on the port of Haifa. Its a pretty cool base. We have a runway, pool, movie theater, fast food, supermarket, weight room, sport fields, and a lot of airplanes. Its just really hot! I don’t have AirCon (From here on out I’m going to use the Hebrew word, Mazgan) in the barracks. Ok, so we sit around until about 1230 when finally a Mifiked comes to take us to start in-processing. We get to the barracks, which are called Hilton. They are 6 story buildings with a lot of rooms. Kinda like a hilton. 8 people to a room. I’m with 5 other friends from my first base and we all put our stuff in the same room. We are told the rules and about inspections. Now they are being a lot more relaxed with us from basic training, but we are still treated like the bottom soldiers. We have twice the amount of room inspections now….which I really don’t understand. One in the morning and one at night. We are not in our rooms all day long, but we still have to clean them at night…whatever its not too bad. We are giving plenty of time to do it. Oh and the food isn’t too bad…but I think my last base was better.
Then we started doing all the paperwork and placement tests. The first test was on the computer and all in Hebrew. It was kinda like a IQ test. Lots of pictures. It was pretty easy but I might of messed it all up because it was in Hebrew, so there is a good chance that I did somethings backwards.
Example. A picture of two men with 50kg on the end of a rope. One had a pulley and one didn’t. Now I think the question was which had to use more physical strength to lift the weight. However, the question could of asked Which person had to use less physical strength to lift the weight…well anyways. I’m pretty sure I passed. The next part on the computer was an interview/test. This was really hard because of the Hebrew and even the Israelis had a hard time figuring out the questions. I don’t know why, but the test used really big words that a lot of people don’t really use. Most of the questions were about motivation, strengths, education, … Then we had to fill out a ton of paperwork and sign a ton of forms. I signed something like 30 times and don’t know what for. They just told me I was agreeing to follow the rules…got love not knowing. I hope the excuse, “I didn’t know” will still work.
They saw that there were a few of us that were having a hard time with the Hebrew and they were worried about us not knowing enough for the course. We had to go talk to the Officer in charge of the course because of this…He asked why we were here and if we wanted to be here. I told him that I was just sent here, knew nothing about it, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay. We made me read a very simple sentence in hebrew and I translated it. He then told me that he thinks that my hebrew is not good enough for the course. Well we didn’t hear anything for a few days and we thought that they would be transferring us. Well we kept asking what was going on and they couldn’t give us an answer. They just told us to keep doing all the tests and processing. The next day we had to take another test…you will never believe what kind? ENGLISH. Nice, I’m an American. It was super simple and if I could take a hebrew test with the same type of questions, they would think my Hebrew was perfect. I got a 96 though… there was one question where we had to translate an future English sentence into Hebrew…and I got it wrong. Why did I have to take an English test? All of the IAF gets there planes from none other than the US of A. So there is a lot of English, however they have translated most the stuff into Hebrew and don’t have the english books anymore. We asked if we could get the English ones, but they said they don’t have them.
The best part of the week was learning about our options of courses. We were offered six different courses. They were all something to do with Fighter Jets. My top three were; 1. F-15I general technician 2. F-16 general technician 3. Bomb and Missile Technician. The other course had to do with electricity, ground crew, and engines. I had heard that F-15I was one of Israel’s best jets and the job had better conditions. This is when I really decided that maybe I didn’t have the worst job in the IDF. The jobs all really sounded interesting to me and they have really good job placement rates after service. Plus I had no clue if I could get out at this point, so I kinda just accepted my fate. I think this is mostly because of my friends I was with, we really had a lot of fun together this week.
We did some other things, but most of the week we didn’t know what was going on and we just sat around outside doing nothing. On Wednesday, I everyone that was told their Hebrew wasn’t good enough had to appear in front of a panel of Officers and Physiologists. We were all pretty nervous because there was a ton of generals in the room and we didn’t know what was going on. I got called in and sat at the head of a really long big table. The top general in the room asked me some questions about where I came from and why I wanted to be in the Army. He also asked what I thought about my Hebrew. I told him that I have been learning a lot of Hebrew and I continue to learn at every moment. Also that I know its going to be hard for me in the classroom, but that this was something interesting to me and I will give 110%. At the end, we were told that we would find out what was happening with us on Thursday morning.
Last Day: Thursday
Thursday morning were all got into our A uniform and got ready to go home. I guess almost everyone in the IAF leaves on Thursday, twice a month and closes shabbat once every three weekends. Nice. Well we thought we would be leaving right away after breakfast, but we asked around and heard we wouldn’t leave until 1500 (3pm). Damn, what are we going to do all day? We just spent a week doing nothing, just let us leave. After morning inspection we had a formation to find out which course we got. My two Turkish friends were pulled out and were told that they will not be receiving a course today. Well that sucks, but it meant that I would. Sure enough, my name gets called and I go to meet my new Mifikedet and class. We then switched rooms so that we were together with our new class. Then we marched to our classroom on the other side of the base. We got to the room and the mifikedet told us what course we got into. I got my first choice. I going to be learning the next eight or so weeks how to be a F-15I Technician. My job entails knowing everything about my plane and its weapons. Pretty cool right? Here is a picture of my plane.
The rest of the day was pretty interesting. We learned a little about what we would be doing, what a regular week looks like, and we had a personal interview with our new Mifikedet. She is pretty cool, I think. She really seems like she likes her job and wants to help me. My class is ten soldiers, mostly all russian and 18 years old. Lets just say we have different reasons for being in the IDF. This got very interesting when we had a discussion with two other classes together. We talked about how even though we weren’t pilots or fighters that we are just as important to the country because they couldn’t do there job if we didn’t do our job. The discussion was very interesting and I wished I could have understood everything and been able to speak up. Everyone was yelling and being loud, like most discussions in Israel. Btw, we have a lot of people that are not really too happy about being in the IAF. They are really quite frustrating. I even got lectured by some d*mb a$$ about how stupid I was to be in the IDF at the age of 22 and why in the Hell I would leave America. I hate people like that, but it lead to other guys coming up to me afterwards and thanking me for being here. I could talk about everyone now, but I really don’t like doing that here on the blog. Its really a funny mix of people. I know its going to really be an experience. I might even know how to speak Russian at the end…I am getting all the curse words down now.
Well thats it for about now. I think I might update everyone one of my heath status later, I got to see a few doctors this week and have more tests coming up. In short, I’m feeling a lot better.
Oh and some bad news…I have to close shabbat next weekend. So the next two weeks I’m stuck on base, so no new blog post next weekend. Sorry.