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Lt. Col. Hiram Photo: Yoav Zitun
Lt. Col. Hiram Photo: Yoav Zitun
 
 

IDF commander lost eye in war, ready for another

During 2006 conflict with Hezbollah, Lt. Col. Barak Hiram held position all night despite heavy injury, won citation. Last week he led hundreds of Golani fighters to extensive drills in northern Israel

Yoav Zitun
Published: 06.16.13, 13:51 / Israel News

The Second Lebanon War will mark its seventh anniversary next month, but even after a prolonged calm, the IDF, and especially Golani Brigade, are preparing for another bout with Hezbollah.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Barak Hiram, commander of Battalion 51 in the brigade, suffered head injuries in combat with Hezbollah fighters in Kafr Hadata during the 2006 war, but the injury did not deter Hiram, then battalion commander in the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit, who insisted on returning to the front the moment his wounds healed.

 

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In the battle, Hiram led a force on a charge against the Hezbollah fighters who opened fire on his troops while they were evacuating soldiers hurt in a previous engagement.

 


סא"ל ברק חירם לשמאלו של מפקד חטיבת גולני יניב עשור בתרגיל (צילום: יואב זיתון )

Lt. Col. Hiram (L), Golani Brigade Commander Yaniv Asor (R) (Photo: Yoav Zitun)

 

Hiram stayed in the same spot the whole night after the opposing force was vanquished despite his heavy injury, so as not to expose his soldiers.

 

But few in the brigade or even in his battalion know Hiram lost an eye in that battle, for which he won a citation by the Northern Command's Gaash Formation commander.

 

During his convalescence he was implanted with a glass eye, but this handicap did not prevent him from leading hundreds of men last week to a wide-scale battalion drill starting in the Lower Galilee and continuing to the Golan Heights.

 

The drill lasted four days, in the course of which the troops marched dozens of kilometers at night and charged objectives both on open and urban terrains, on foot and on the Golani Brigade's Namer armored carriers.

 

Lt. Col. Hiram politely refused to discuss with Ynet his injury or his part in the drill, and preferred to focus on his troops.

 

"This is an exercise for our soldiers and commanders in terrain we're unfamiliar with. We're trying to challenge our perceptions," he said. 

 

"The Namer is very important for rapid ground maneuvering, and they reach speed up to 40 km/h (about 25 mph). In the drill we used our operational combat weapons, the ones we'll use at war."

 

The Northern Command voiced high appreciation for Lt. Col. Hiram, who had high operational achievements with his troops during their last deployment on Lebanon's border, and for their high performance levels during the current drill.

 

After the Second Lebanon War, Hiram commented on the battle: "I've been in many operations and engagements in the past, but this is the first time I felt the whole country is at war. Usually when you're in an operation, you know that if God-forbid you get stranded, the entire IDF will have your back," he said.

 

"But in war everyone is busy and everyone is fighting and you are left on your own limited angle. You stand alone with your troops and feel the fate of the campaign is on the balance.

 

"There are no other forces to do the job for you."

 

 

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