The IDF's paratroopers kept their title as the fittest unit in Israel's armed forces. In a series of tough tests, held over the past few week at the Wingate Institute and marked by the traditional rivalry between combat units, the paratroopers once again came out on top.
The Ground Forces Professional Training School came in second place, with the Bahad 1 division – the officers' training school – in third.
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A competition for division commanders also went to the red berets, with Paratroopers Brigade Commander Colonel Amir Baram taking first place, followed by Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofer Levi and Bahad 1 commander Col. Eran Niv.
The fitness tests under way (Photos: IDF Spokesperson)
Golani won the division training base category, which included elements of basic and advanced training. The paratroops came in second, followed by Givati.
Among the IDF's special units, Maglan took first place – following a recent commendation from the chief of staff for its achievements – followed by the 669 search and rescue unit and the Combat Engineering Corps' Yahalom unit. First place in a competition between elite ground force units went to the Givati Reconnaissance Battalion, followed by the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion and the Oketz canine unit.
"Thousands of officers who took part (in the competition) carried full combat equipment," explained Col. Oren Gil, head of combat fitness in the IDF. "The tests included running, shooting after physical exertion, navigation, adhering to timetables, entering water, and obstacles."
Fighters from the 401st Armored Brigade took first place in the motorized category, with the Amud Ha'esh (Column of Fire) artillery formation in second place and the Combat Collection School in third. Outgoing 401 commander Einav Shalev, who also won the individual category, recently said that his troops "take care to maintain combat fitness, despite the advanced lethal abilities of tanks."
While the Kfir Brigade took two medals in officers' categories, Nahal disappointed, with only a few representatives on the podium.
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