He disciplined Armored Corps troops for decades and became one of the most famous NCOs in the IDF:
Yaakov Asael, 88, passed Tuesday at the Barzilay Medical Center in Ashkelon.
In 1957, Asael was appointed the first NCO at the Julis Armored Corps training base and kept that position for the next 30 years, until he retired at the age of 61 in 1985, the same year that the base itself was relocated.
Asael is survived by two children – both of whom followed his footsteps and joined the IDF Armored Corps – seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His funeral is to be held Wednesday in Ashkelon, his home town.
Born in Salonika, Asael came to Israel in 1949, a few months after the State of Israel was established. He fought for the IDF during Operation Kadesh (1956), The Six Day War
(1967), the Yom Kippur War
(1973) and The Lebanon War
"Many of the soldiers he trained went on to become generals and chiefs of staff. He always said that all he and his soldiers did was for the glory of the State of Israel,"
his son Yaron said. "I grew up with his discipline and of course implemented it in my own life. He was a visionary."
28 years as NCO at Armored Corps training base. Asael (Photo: Avi Rokah)
Many soldiers who were trained at the Armored Corps base attribute the discipline with which tank operators are identified to Asael, who was nicknamed "the white horse."
When he turned 80, IDF senior officers held an event in his honor at the Armored Corps memorial site in Latrun.
Brigadier-General (Res.) Avigdor Kahalani, one of the first soldiers under Asael who later worked alongside him said: "I loved him dearly. There was no one in the Armored Corps who didn’t know him or that didn’t adore him."
"He had a good and gentle soul," Kahalani added. "He stands as a symbol of the Armored Corps famous discipline. We all learned from him."
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