I was driving with Elie yesterday – a long drive to and from somewhere to run a small errand. I had to go; he volunteered to come along and be my driver. He didn’t like the way the soldiers (military police) were holding their guns at the checkpoint. They weren’t serious enough for Elie, who would never have let his soldiers stand that way.
The arrogance of the combat soldier extends to “jobniks” – those non-combat soldier without which the army simply could not function. It is the nature of the combat soldier to know the value and yet to gently look down on it. He is one of only a minor percentage, chosen for his physical and mental capabilities. Many combat soldiers do not complete the army in combat units and there is an arrogance among those that do.
It doesn’t stop the two brothers (three when you include Chaim and now four when you include my son-in-law) from speaking Army when they are together, but it is often there. And yet…despite looking down a bit on the military police, Elie took pride in telling me that they recently won in an international competition, beating out a SWAT/FBI team in completing their mission.
After he told me that bit of trivia and explained why they were holding their guns wrong, Elie said, “did I ever tell you about…” and I sat back to enjoy listening to him talk.
The details of the operation are not something I would write here, though I doubt they are useful or confidential. The bottom line was that Elie’s unit was tasked with capturing a wanted terrorist responsible for planning numerous stabbing attacks. Others had tried to capture him several times and failed.
Information came to the security forces about where he would be and when and the unit that was available, was Elie’s. Elie helped plan the operation, noting some important detail that likely others had missed.
“When we got into the village,” Elie told me, “me and another soldier” went off in one direction to set the scene; the other soldiers approached the house from the standard direction, calling out and warning the terrorist to come out. This had been done before, to no avail.
This time, when the terrorist used his escape route, Elie was right there with his gun aimed at the door waiting for the terrorist, who surrendered and was arrested.
No, Elie, you didn’t tell me about this one and I wonder how many other stories are in your head waiting to be shared as you remember and adjust to life outside the army.