Israel’s Elite Search & Rescue Unit 669, the Product of Patriotism & H…
The 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria, is etched deeply in the state of Israel’s history of wars.
The name of the war attests to the day it began, on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Holy Atonement Day. The high casualties of this war, between 2,521 and 2,800 killed in action and an additional 7,250 to 8,800 soldiers wounded, left a thorough scar in the Israeli nation’s social fabric.
consequently, in the aftermath of the war, in 1974, a year after the war ended, Israel’s Elite Search & Rescue Unit 669 was established.
Unit 669 in training – Photo credit Oren Cohen
Since then, its soldiers have been responsible for hundreds of rescue operations within Israel’s borders and oversea.
I first met members of the unit in 2019 and after our meeting I penned a story: ‘669: The Travelling Saving Life Angels.‘
The writer with Unit 669 members – Photo credit Nurit Greenger
Israel Defense Forces (The IDF) is the army of the people by the people. Young men and women are drafted straight after graduating high school and serve for 2-to-3 years in mandatory service. The conscripted soldiers take their service to heart and are very proud to serve. After all, they are protecting their immediate family in addition as the complete nation.
Take for example Roey Peleg, a fighter and an officer, a member of the 669 squad. Roey, together with his brother established the Pathway-Hamaslul, a demanding training regimen leading to meaningful Israeli military service. Pathway is an educational organization. Its programs enhance the person’s inner strength by mental and physical challenges and the love for the land of Israel. It is not only a superb preparatory for service in the IDF but also a guide to a way of life. Having strong principles and persistence together with a long and difficult training course, Pathway sees itself a meaningful meaningful to success in life. Pathway helps reinforce one’s love for the country and the strength to protect it, additionally, a person’s own inner strength and the ability to build a good future.
Meet the 669 Unit idols
The members of Unit 669 are a firmly connected rare family, like a band of brothers. Belonging to this family begins the moment a soldier joins the unit until the end of his time.
The main mission of Unit 669 is to rescue both military and civilian casualties, anywhere and under any circumstances and conditions, be it enemy territory, under hostile fire, or civilians caught in any kind of emergency situation.
The Unit 669 member guiding rule is [we are] “one call away.” Due to the emergency first responder character of the unit, neither time of day, location nor the kind of mission can be foreseen. consequently, all the unit’s commanders and soldiers go by comprehensive combat and medical first-aid training in addition as specialty training such as diving, rappelling, etc. The reason is that there is no time for selection according to one’s specialty when the “one call away” siren goes off.
Unit 669 rescue team at sea – Photo credit Oren CohenUnit 669 rescue team at nigh mission – Photo credit Oren CohenUnit 669 rescue team member on the cliff – Photo credit Oren CohenUnit 669 rescue team at rescue mission – Photo credit Oren Cohen
In some notable international operations, in 1991, in the top-secret complicate ‘Operation Solomon‘, Unit 669 operatives repatriated over 14,500 Ethiopian Jews and brought them safely to Israel; in 1997 they evacuated an injured Israeli Naval commando team following an operation in Lebanon; in 2003, Unit 669 soldiers saved the lives of Turkish seamen who were caught in a heavy storm in the Mediterranean Sea; in 2009 they extracted crew members from a sinking Ukrainian cargo ship. But these are just the tip of the unit’s heroic accomplishments to save lives.
October 2021 Unit 669 US Introductory Tour
The last two years of the COVID era kept many people away from each other, countries closed to visitors and social gatherings were deleted for a while. Slowly life as we knew it before the virus took over is returning to some normalcy.
Unit 669 rescue team Cat logo during COVID – ‘One Call Away’ no matter what!
Throughout the months of October 2021, Israel’s elite Search & Rescue Unit 669 combat officers and medics will keep up panel discussions in several US cities, in Maryland, California, and Florida.
The save commanders, medics, and soldiers will include in intimate conversations about their military service in the IDF and proportion personal service experiences.
While on their US tour, members of IDF Unit 669 invite Americans to partake in the events and have an in-person opportunity to meet, greet and ask questions of the unit’s save combat officers.
Some of the introductory topics to the unit’s range of responsibilities would be: ‘how one makes life-or-death decisions under pressure?’; ‘how to coordinate a rescue operation with pilots, ground forces and doctors under fire’; ‘what skills does it take to become a top military rescuer?’
These events are organized by American Friends of Unit 669. See more about Unit 669 HERE. American Friends of Unit 669 is a non-profit organization established to sustain the welfare of the unit’s active soldiers in addition as sustain its alumni, many of whom have a substantial foundation to become leaders in Israeli business and social fabric and Cat 669 Alumni Association.
Unit 669 – American Friends of Unit 669 logo
American Friends of Unit 669 sustain helps encourage Unit 669 alumni to maximize their individual possible for their own assistance, the Unit, and all the people of Israel. The Cat Association prides itself on the social impact it provides
The Cat Association social impact is described in this video:
To learn more about the upcoming events and to register:
October 5th, 2021, in Rockville, Maryland;
October 6th, 2021, in Baltimore, Maryland;
October 11th, 2021, in Los Angeles, California;
October 13th, 2021, in Long Beach, California;
October 14th, 2021, in Northridge, California;
October 18th, 2021, Bal Harbour, Florida;
October 21st, 2021, in Miami, Florida;
There are paths in life one takes, perhaps with much thought or just an impulse that changes one’s life trajectory for better or for worse. Becoming a member of Israel’s Elite Search & Rescue Unit 669 is that road that already when you turn slightly from it, you will certainly get the help you need to get back on it and walk it as smoothly as possible.
Members of Unit 669 have been gifted.
Unit 669 rescue team member in action – Photo credit Oren Cohen
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