Chief Artillery Officer: "The competence of our forces is excellent"

Brig. Gen. Roy Riftin on today's surprise drill on Golan Heights: "We as an army must be prepared at all times for an event like this"

Date: 19/09/2012, 8:56 PM     Author: Hadas Duvdevani

Chief Artillery Officer Brig. Gen. Roy Riftin, who oversaw the surprise drill carried out by IDF forces on the Golan Heights today (Wednesday, September 19), expressed satisfaction with the forces' performance.

"I am very satisfied with the performance of the units; the forces were well directed. A drill on this scale had not occurred on the Golan in many years, and we met the required benchmarks that we had previously designated for ourselves," Brig. Gen. Riftin said today. "The goal of the exercise was to learn, and we will learn to glean lessons and to improve our abilities. Altogether, the competence of our forces is excellent."

The drill, which lasted throughout the day today, included only units of the IDF in regular service, particularly focusing on artillery forces. It was intended to realistically simulate a possible combat scenario and to test the military's preparedness for an escalation on the northern front. The exercise was notable both for the scale of the forces participating and because it came as a surprise.

"We as an army must be prepared at all times for an event like this," the Chief Artillery Officer explained. "The exercise activated all of the forces of the artillery and the Air Force, from the head of the pyramid to the last soldiers. Some of the forces were activated during their free time, and some of them during operational activity in the Golan Heights and in Judea and Samaria. Part of the value of the present drill is in that we assembled our forces by helicopter, rather than through the conventional modes of transportation."

The drill's timing was chosen in advance by officials of the Operations Brigade, and has no relation to present occurrences in the area.

The Chief of Staff arrived for a visit to inspect the execution of the drill. He was escorted by Maj. Gen. (res.) Nati Sharoni, who served as Chief Artillery Officer during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Lt. Gen. Gantz went out to the field to touch base with officials during the exercise.