At 3:00 A.M. four companies from the Armored Corps leave the Shizafon base for their beret march. In two lines, with camouflage paint on their faces, 37 pounds of equipment on their backs, and stretchers on their shoulders, they begin walking in the desert. They set out on their beret march, which signifies the end of their training. When they complete the march, the soldiers will receive black Armored Corps berets.
These new Armored Corps combat soldiers enlisted in August and have spent every moment since then training for this moment. While they won’t all be placed in the same positions, they worked together to become the best gunners, drivers, and loaders possible.
One of the soldiers, who arrived to the Armored Corps after his first year of service, said, “I’m very proud. I wanted and requested to be here. The work in the Armored Corps is really interesting and is different from everything else. A tank is a machine and its operators have a lot of responsibilities.”
Soldiers in the Armored Corps are very passionate about their positions. “I fell in love with tanks when we shot the MAG gun for the first time. You suddenly feel like you’re doing something, that you shot the target and you succeeded,” said one of the soldiers finishing the course.
Many of the soldiers, moments before their beret march commented, “Right at the beginning of basic training we put our schedule up on the wall and the beret march looked so far away but here we are.”
The beret march is long and can be a demanding task. Three miles before the end, the commanders put their black berets on their heads to remind the soldiers what they were working for and to motivate them to finish strong.
When the soldiers finish their march they receive their berets and are greeted by tables full of food and people cheering for them, but that’s not even the best part. After months of intense training and a hard beret march, the soldiers truly become a family. As one soldier put it, “The tanks are our homes and the Armored Corps is our family.”