The Paratroopers is one of the Israeli army's most prestigious infantry brigades. But the simple truth is that they don't really parachute all that often. Oh, sure, the average paratrooper recruit will jump out of a plane, but usually only once during his three-year mandatory service. And it seems that is largely for nostalgic reasons.
The current head of the Paratroopers Brigade, Lt.-Col. Yishai Eduard, is determined to change all that, starting with a nighttime jump last Tuesday that all 1,000 active paratroopers were required to participate in.
It was the first time in 15 years that the Paratroopers had all jumped together as a brigade, and it was by all accounts an emotional experience. It was also somewhat painful for many, as nearly a quarter of the brigade suffered light injuries in the jump, a somewhat expected outcome considering how seldom these soldiers have actually jumped from planes.
Lt.-Col. Eduard said he intends the brigade jump to again be an annual event, and for the paratroopers to again become well trained in the art of parachuting into battle.
"Being a paratrooper is not just about the [red] beret," Eduard told the IDF Spokesperson. "It is a valid and relevant operational ability."
Pictures and a video from the jump:
Getting packed and ready
Ready to board
Lt.-Col. Eduard prepares to jump with his men
Moments before the jump
Night vision shot of an Israeli paratrooper