IDF paratroopers earn coveted red beret (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Yoav Zitun Published: 02.20.12, 23:14)
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Young soldiers complete grueling march to Jerusalem; commander: it´s
preparation for war
Hundreds of paratroopers who joined the IDF in August of 2011
completed Monday a grueling 70-kilometer (roughly 42 miles) march en
route to earning the unit´s coveted red beret.
The troops embarked on the march Sunday evening and were on the move
for nearly 24 consecutive hours. During the challenging journey they
had to contend with particularly harsh winter conditions as they
marched through the chilly air of the Jerusalem Mountains.
Starting next week, the soldiers will be assigned to various
paratroop regiments for operational activity.
The long march began in the Bet Shemesh area and saw the soldiers
walking through large swamps, before reaching the final destination:
Jerusalem´s Ammunition Hill. The troops received the red beret during
a ceremony at the site, in the presence of family members.
Carrying 40% of body weight
"The journey was symbolic and perhaps exciting, but it´s part of our
preparation for war and there were no songs involved. Everyone
marched quietly," Paratroopers´ training base Regiment Commander, Lt.-
Col. Guy Berger, told Ynet. This was his third march as regiment
commander and 10th since joining the paratroopers.
"The new thing about this march was that every soldier carried
equipment, ammunition and arms weighing 40% of his body weight, to
help train for a long walk to the enemy target," Berger said.
"About 95% of the soldiers completed the journey, and none of them
stopped midway. Most of the march was uphill, and during the last 10
kilometers (6 miles) we opened two stretchers in each platoon to
simulate carrying the wounded," he said.
"It´s always exciting to watch the soldiers march uphill to Jerusalem
during sunrise," Berger concluded. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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