Money is arguably the key difference between the two military units I have called home. In my former Air Force unit, a generous budget meant we rarely lacked for any sort of gear. Warm winter clothes were provided gratis. Tape and other basic necessities were ours for the taking from a well stocked on-base warehouse.
My current unit is a very different story. A low overhead is reflected in the poor quality of our food and the dismal condition of our rooms. The most critical effect is our dismal lack of gear. Many guys lack thermal underclothes against the cold. Only a few possess a headlamp that is necessary for waging war by night. And our lack of tape and string means we are unable to transform our gear into the battle-ready tools that could decide life and death.
My unit has a simple solution to the chronic lack of funding: donations. As the only American on my team, my peers and even my commander expect that I can find generous supporters to donate monies for all our missing gear. While I am under no false pretense that donating to my army squad is without a doubt the most deserving of charities (the Sabra Hummus haters certainly would not agree!), there is something to be said for supporting young Israelis who themselves have sworn to donate even their lives if necessary to the defense of the Jewish state.
I am seeking to raise funds so that everyone on my team can be provided with a pair of well-made hiking boots. Combat soldiers in elite units are allowed non-regulation boots because the army issued footwear is far from kind to a soldier's feet and legs. Hiking boots costs $150. Providing for my whole team means my fund-raising goal is $4,500.
If you wish to donate any amount, please contact me directly or leave a comment below and I will do my best to follow up as soon as possible. My thanks in advance.
Rahm Emanuel is likely the most famous former participant of Sar-El (acronym for Sheirut L'Yisrael, Service to Israel), the three week program run by the IDF that allows foreigners of any age to volunteer their service to the nation's defense. When Emanuel was cleaning tanks during the 1991 Gulf War, I doubt he ever witnessed a show like that staged by my officers for the Sar-El group working at our base. My team was put through hours of intensive combat training and Krav Maga while the twenty year old American volunteers watched from the sidelines.
Watching them watch me and my guys reminded me how easily I could be in their shoes rather than where I am. Despite the sweat, tears and fear, I raced through the evening's "performance" all the more grateful that I had the chance to perform on stage rather than watch from the wings.
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