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Woman Combat Officer Finishes ‘Beret March’ while Pregnant

Women combat officers are common in the IDF, but one commander went one better – training soldiers while eight months pregnant.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/12/2012, 5:58 PM

Combat officer Shukrun and her baby girl
Combat officer Shukrun and her baby girl
Israel news photo: IDF website

It is not unusual in the IDF that women are combat officers, but Captain Shukrun went one better – she commanded her trainees while eight months pregnant.

Captain Yarden Shukrun, the first female commander of a Home Front Command combat unit, joined the army in 2004, and served as a combat soldier in the rescue unit of the Home Front Command.

She later finished an officers’ course and became the first female combat commander in the Home Front Command. During the course, she got married and six months later became pregnant, but decided to continue to as a commander until the eighth month of her pregnancy, wearing full uniform.

In the IDF, pregnant soldiers can choose to quit their military service, and career service officers are exempted from wearing a military uniform during any stage of their pregnancy. Also, they are entitled to special rights, as in any other workplace in Israel, but Capt. Shukrun opted to forfeit her privileges, the IDF website reports.

Training combat soldiers requires tough physical training, including the traditional “beret march, but she says,”It was the same as always. Once you’re used to army life, the pregnancy shouldn’t matter. I didn’t think it mattered, and that’s what the doctors told me as well.

“As a woman, I was always among men — as a combat soldier, as a squad commander, as a platoon commander, as the deputy company commander and now as a company commander — but I see it like there’s no difference.”

Yarden believes that one should not give excuses and should work as hard as possible for results. What matters, she says, is how much you give and the results of your actions.

“When I joined the army, I planned to become a combat soldier. It came from my heart. I had fun serving with guys –  they always helped, supported and loved me along the way.”

Now with a second child, Yarden is completing her academic studies as part of her military service but says she can’t wait to return to her military career.

”I’ll go back to any job that I would be needed for. I love my company, I love my battalion, and the Home Front command is an inseparable part of my life,” she says.