This and That

Random bits of my life

Paratroopers’ March

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 16, 2010

Paratroopers' March

My officemate phoned me this morning on his way to work to tell me that the paratroopers (tsanchanim) were passing by our building on a “masa kumta” (march at graduation from basic training). According to one of my co-workers who was in the paratroopers,  the march starts at about 4:00 in the afternoon at Tel-Nof, and ends 100 kilometers (!!) and 16 hours later at Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet). At this intersection, family members and friends join the soldiers for the last two kilometers. It’s quite a sight!

In the photo below, a soldier is helping his friend keep up by dragging him by the hand. He must be strong — he’s carrying a heavy stretcher on his back and a lot of other equipment on his vest. The soldier between them is one of many who were chanting, “Mem Peh meshuga. Mem Mem meshuga.” Loose translation: “The platoon commander is crazy. The company commander is crazy.” I guess it keeps their mind off their sore feet and boosts morale.

Paratroopers' March

This guy has an ice pop wrapper hanging out of his mouth. He’s wearing a red ceremonial banner that identifies their unit, “Efeah,” a kind of snake. (One of my co-workers served in that unit and gave me the background info on the march. He also identified the rifle. It’s a Belgian FN MAG M240, in case you were wondering.)

Paratroopers' March

On the left are two officers (they already have their berets and have insignia on their shoulders). The one on the right is wearing a flag with the paratroopers’ emblem.

Paratroopers' March

After they crossed the intersection, they continued marching up Golda Meir Blvd. This isn’t a great photo. I only included it because it shows the place where I work. It would have been fun to photograph them from the sixth floor balcony but I couldn’t be in two places at once.

Paratroopers' March

4 Responses to “Paratroopers’ March”

  1. aswirly said

    Really interesting, and I appreciate your explanations of the pictures. Did any of the soldiers pose for your camera or was that not allowed? Are those rifles um… loaded?

    • Avital said

      They would have been allowed to pose for me, but I didn’t feel I could ask guys who’d marched 100 km to stop for a picture when I wasn’t a friend or family member. Also, they were going at a pretty good speed, so I’m not sure whether they would have wanted to stop, pose, and then run to catch up. There were two groups of soldiers actually. They had stopped for refreshments under the bridge and met with friends who walked with them. As for the rifles, they’re not loaded unless soldiers are on active duty but they do carry ammunition.

  2. jonnygold said

    Thanks for capturing this. I wasn’t able it from my location on that day.

  3. Cynthia said

    16 hours?? Wow.

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