Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A day in uniform

In order to be called up for Miluim (action rather than training), the army has to give you at least 42 days notice. Typically they do this with a combination of letters, registered letters and phone calls. I was counting down the days at the end of June, hoping that I wasn't going to have anything to do with the Hitnatkut, when I came home to find a white and green envelope waiting in my letter box. Receiving that envelope is never a pleasant experience. Receiving notification of a registered letter likewise throws me into a panic - it's usually either a call up or a parking / speeding fine - and quite frankly, the latter is almost preferable.

This time my prayers were answered - a one day call up for training at a base that I've been to before. And so it came to pass that yesterday saw me shrugging on a uniform and lacing my boots before driving South for a day which experience says is a waste of time and money.

Our one day Miluim tends to include a welcome from one of the officers - thanks for coming, it's important blah, blah, blah and then a bunch of soporific classes, a barely palatable lunch, more classes and then home. Yesterday was no different apart from the fact that the army has moved on a bit and we used simulators for one of the classes - a bit like playing a Playstation game only with the more serious edge that these are skills which you might need to use for real one day.

I only just stayed awake through most of the afternoon classes before they sent us on our way with the warning that we're going to have a 5 day training period later in the year. Fortunately we finished early enough for me not to miss my regular Monday night game of football.

From my description, you might think that the day was a total waste of time but there is one positive thing that comes out of a day like this and it's amongst the most important things in any unit - it offers the opportunity to get together with the guys who you do your Miluim with; to catch up, have a chat and keep in touch. Army units rely on your being able to function as a team and it helps if you know the other people on the team - if you like them then better still. We are all happy not to see each other for long stretches of time - no one really wants to go to Miluim (if they do then they need their head examined) these one day chunks of putting on a uniform do fulfill that one, vital purpose of bringing us together.


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