Pilot’s widow: You taught me to love the land
Galit, widowed wife of combat pilot Major Ran Kochva, killed in helicopter collision Thursday, describes him as ‘beautiful from outside and inside. He taught how to know and love Israel.’ Friend of family: Ran loved life, was exemplary father, whose soul was filled with love for the land
Major Kochva was killed Thursday night when two Apache (Cobra) combat helicopters en route to Lebanon collided and crashed in the Ramot Naftali area, near the Koach Junction south of Kiryat Shmona.
At the funeral ceremony, Ran’s widow Galit dedicated to her husband the song “Who loves you more than I do,” written by Micha Sheetrit, describing his love for the land of Israel, and noted that her husband had given her the CD as a gift.
Major Kochva, an architect doing his reserve duty in the helicopter squadron, was survived by his wife, five-year-old daughter and one-year-old twins.
“From the place I am now, I can’t imagine life without you,” Galit said, filled with emotion. “I have no idea how to make the feeling of a family for our children. You were so beautiful from the inside and outside, loving, devoted. Kind-hearted and caring. I could count on one hand the days on which you were sad. You taught me to love and know this country. I know you trust me to be strong for the children.”
The commander of the helicopter squadron eulogized the fallen pilot.
“The eyes see, the mind knows, and the heart refuses to accept. I knew you for 18 years, from the pilot’s course until today, a real professional, an excellent fighter, and an excelling reservist. We will always remember your witty humor. We will continue the mission even if our tears blur our vision and choke our throats. You, Ran, our beloved friend, will still be with us.”
Dovrat, a friend of Kochva’s, described his intense love for Israel.
“How do you begin to separate when you so badly don’t want to? You were the only one who could put everything into order and proportion. The name you chose for your architecture company, “Sabras,” is so characteristic. Prickly on the outside, but very sweet on the inside. You knew how to focus on loving life, you were an exemplary father, hobbyist chef, and pilot and you love for Israel was in your soul.”
Initial probes of the helicopter crash revealed that the two choppers apparently ran into each other in the air, and prepared for an emergency landing, which ended badly.
Rescue teams found the first chopper and were able to locate the second one minutes later. An initial inquiry revealed that the collision was an accident, not a terror attack. Rescue forces arrived to the scene of the accident and determined the death of one of the soldiers. Three other soldiers were transferred in serious, moderate and light condition to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.