Commander of the Target Intelligence Battalion, which recently won the President’s Citation, discusses his unit's challenges and successes
President Shimon Peres awarded the President's Citation to the Target Intelligence Battalion of the Southern Command this week, honoring the reserve unit's hard work and sacrifice.
The Target Intelligence Battalion, a part of the Edom Division of the Southern Command, is a field intelligence unit whose goal is helping the IDF direct its fire by gathering information on high-quality targets. Because of the different goals of the Battalion, its ranks contain soldiers hailing from a variety of different combat units. “The Battalion is like an orchestra. In order for it to play its best, it needs to be seamlessly integrated,” said Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Roy.
Winning the coveted President’s Citation is not the end point, but a stepping-stone on the Battalion's continued path of growth. “One of the sayings in the dangerous profession of combat soldiers is that you don’t excel, you may end up paying a dear price: your life. We don’t have the chance to say we don’t want to go on the mission, or to fail. We have a duty and only on option: to succeed,” he said.
Lt. Col. Roy noted that with the IDF’s increasing focus on the south in recent years, the Battalion has received significant training resources, and great effort has been made to utilize them effectively. “Before any training or deployment, we performed detailed preparations in which we outlined new challenges and all lessons learned,” said the Battalion Commander.
The Target Intelligence Battalion, refusing to rest on its laurels, will take part in more training in the near future, where it will face increasing challenges. In one upcoming exercise, commanders will face a week of uncertain situations, rapidly changing orders, and being forced to quickly learn and adapt to the mission. In addition, following technological advancements in the field, a change is expected in the unit's targeting methods, which will further increase the unit’s capabilities.
In a reserve unit, operational capabilities aren’t the only factor in creating a winning battalion. The atmosphere of camaraderie amongst reservists is a key part of a battalion’s success, and Lt. Col. Roy said that his unit is like a family. “We focus on maintaining personal contact, even when we are not on reserve duty. For example, two weeks ago we held a day of community service during which we started a sports day for blind children,” said Lt. Col. Roy. “When the three-year old child of one of the soldiers asks his father when he gets to go to reserve duty again, there is no doubt that it strengthens the unit and sows the seeds of education and volunteering. It’s the secret of taking action.”
All of these components elevate the battalion to the highest levels of preparedness and to the peak of its potential. “In the end, none of the units that won [the President's Citation] are supermen. These are people with a lot of will and who invest a lot, which leads to success,” said Lt. Col. Roy. “We are blessed with talented soldiers and commanders who are willing to invest and integrate their personal life with the unit.”