Yosef Kandiati, a tank commander in the 363rd Battalion of the 10th Brigade (Reserve), flew from his home in the United States to train the battalion reserve - in order to participate in the brigade's conversion to the Merkava Mark 3 Chariot tank.
Today, two weeks after arriving from San Diego, he proudly recounts: "Since my release from IDF regular duty in 2010, I have attended reserve duty on a yearly basis. When the lieutenant colonel called me about two months ago, letting me know they were moving to the Merkava 3, I told him I'd be there."
A year and a half ago, Kandiati moved from Canadian to the United States for work. "I did not expect the training to take place while I was living abroad, but I kept my word. When I realized it was about to take place, I got on a plane to Israel. The company and I went through a lot together. We participated in basic training, fought in Operation Protective Edge. The bond between soldiers and company commanders is both unique and meaningful."
"Although combat fighters over the age of 30 are allowed to be discharged from reserve duty, many soldiers in the company fought to stay on for extended tours of duty. After completing the training, I can say I am one of the oldest lieutenants in the company. I have the honor of passing on the torch and experience of the company to younger generations of fighters," he says.
"The training lasted two weeks, with the first dedicated to learning the new systems," recalls Kandiati. "The most significant difference between the tanks consists of the [new system's] high-level of firing capability and its ability to connect directly to the IDF's general navigation system. In the second week, we applied everything we learned in tank drills, which included a simulation exercise and live fire drill."
''Although I flew 10,000 km to fulfill my reserve duty, the soldiers, commanders and officers who left their families and jobs to dedicate these last two weeks and hundreds of days of reserve duty in previous years for the sake of the State of Israel deserve a giant debt of gratitude. Something like this should never be taken for granted," he says.