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69th Squadron Receives Medal Release date 17.05.2018
Last week (Wednesday), the IAF's 69th ("Hammers") Squadron received the IDF Chief of Staff Medal of Appreciation for operational achievements of great importance. "I salute you in the name of the entire IDF for how you perform your missions for the safety of Israel"
Yael Fuchs

Last week (Wednesday), the IAF's 69th ("Hammers") Squadron received the IDF Chief of Staff Medal of Appreciation for its extensive activity over the past few years, which has made a significant contribution to the IDF's strength and the safety of the state of Israel. The medal was awarded to the squadron for its activity in various complex theatres while showing initiative, innovation and fortitude which brought about significant operational achievements. This is the fifth time the medal was awarded to a unit in the IDF and the first time it was awarded to an IAF squadron.

Design: Ron Tamir

"This event shows the quality of the squadron's performance, planning and execution in operational activity in the incredibly intense activity of the current period, with an emphasis on the northern theatre, facing what's defined as our biggest threat – the Iranian military establishment and the Iranian effort to establish aerial, naval and ground capabilities beyond the borders of Israel", said Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the IDF Chief of Staff. "This humble ceremony is an expression of gratitude for your work and your contribution to the safety of Israel. I salute you in the name of the entire IDF for your work, contribution, professionalism, modesty and the way you perform your mission to ensure Israel's security".

Photography: Koral Dvir

"The ceremony and the Chief of Staff's decision reflect the squadron's great contribution to Israel's security in recent years", said Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, Commander of the IAF. "The squadron is a locomotive carrying the entire IAF behind it – encouraging us to be better and expand the limits of our capabilities while ensuring its position as an aerial force. I say to the previous commanders of the squadron – you have a part in this. The IAF relies on each one of its service members. Service members from the technical departments and maintenance squadrons, service members responsible for administration, construction and flight – you are all a part of long, powerful human chain. All of you have a part in our operational work. The 69th Squadron – I'm proud of you, keep it up".

Photography: Koral Dvir

Operational Capability, Everywhere and Always
“At this time, besides moments of vigilance, I feel secure, calm and faithful regarding the mission and the safe return of our combatants”, stated Brig. Gen. Avshalom Amosi, Commander of Hatzerim AFB. “I cherish my privilege to be part of this work, and am grateful for the 'Hammers' Squadron and its service members for giving me a sense of security and power during these tense times. This medal was earned by hard work and expresses not only past achievements, but also the squadron’s importance in future achievements. I know that Israel can trust you”.

The IDF Chief of Staff Appreciation Medal is a medal awarded by the Chief of Staff to either a person or a unit for their contribution to the IDF’s strength and Israel’s security. The medal was awarded in 2003 to Col. (Res’) Ilan Ramon Z”L and in 2014 to an “Iron Dome” weapon system battalion. Now, the medal is awarded to the 69th Squadron, which operates “Ra’am” (F-15I) aircraft, for its operational capability at all times and in all theatres, creative planning capabilities and high-quality performance, all while cooperating with operational divisions in all theatres.

Photography: Celia Garion

The IAF’s Strategic Squadron
The 69th Squadron provided quick and efficient responses to the evolving operational needs of the Middle East as part of an ongoing effort in a challenging and dangerous environment. These led to significant operational achievements which strengthened the IDF’s operational capability in various theatres and contributed to Israel’s security.

Photography: Koral Dvir

The 69th Squadron has a long history. It was the third squadron founded following the establishment of the IAF, and it has been the IAF’s strategic squadron ever since. Its service members have operated a variety of aircraft types, such as the "Flying Fortress" (B-17), "Kurnas" (Phantom F-4) and “Ra’am” (F-15I). The squadron participated in most of Israel’s wars as well as dozens of operations. With their growing capabilities and constant preparedness, the squadron preserves its status and fulfills its goal as the IAF’s strategic squadron.