I got my draft date in the mail! February 25, 2008 is my official draft date. I got the letter a week or two after my initial tests. I don’t know yet where I will be drafted to, but hopefully I’ll be able to figure that out before the day arrives. Where do I want to go? That is a question that many people ask me. I want to go to the best place that I can get to. I want to have an interesting experience and feel like I am contributing all that I can. I hope I will find that.
A few days after I got my draft letter, I was working in the fields and around 8:30am I get a phone call. The soldier on the other end tells me that according to my initial test results, I have a summons to come and start the testing process for pilots in the Air Force. He told me where to be, what day and what time. To be perfectly honest, before I started the whole draft process, I only thought about being a soldier on the ground. I expected to walk long distances and carry lots of heavy equipment on my back, not fly in the air. Being a pilot didn’t even cross my mind! When I told the people I work with, they were impressed and told me that if I got invited to test for pilots, that means that I have the highest test results possible from the initial tests and that I am eligible for testing to serve in any unit. So after some thought and encouragement from the people I work with, I decided to give it a chance and see where it would lead me.
I went to the first day of testing in Be’er Sheva. It was a long day. The day was divided up into two parts: the first part of the day was written testing, while the second part was mechanical testing. The written tests were, much like the initial tests, filled with pictures that were missing a part and I had to choose the missing piece from the choices. After I passed that part, the second half of the day came around. The mechanical tests were two-fold. The first test went like this: The soldier placed a little machine on a desk in front of me. I had two minutes to look over the machine and see how it works. Then I had 30 seconds to take the whole thing apart. She came by, mixed up the parts, and then I had 15 minutes to put the machine back together as it was given to me. I didn’t think I did well in that at all, but I guess I passed because I moved on to the next step! The next, and final part of the day was a machine that was a combination of an etch-a-sketch and a geometry compass. The soldier put a piece of paper with a drawing on it on a metal sheet. I had two levers, one that moved the metal sheet forwards and backwards, and the other moved the metal sheet left and right. Above the metal sheet there was a pencil that touched the paper with the tip. I had to move the metal sheet so that the stationary pencil would follow the path of the drawing on the paper. I felt like I did really well in this test. At the end of the first day of testing, they told me that I passed and that I would soon get a summons to the next stage of testing for pilots. I guess all those years of playing with an etch-a-sketch paid off!
The next round of testing was on December 2nd, just two weeks ago at Tel HaShomer, which is the base near Tel Aviv. I stayed at my friend’s house the night before – she lives a few minutes away from the base and I had to be there early in the morning. From the moment I got to the base at 8am until 3pm, I sat in front of a computer. The first part of the tests was a flight simulator on the computer. There was a joystick and a lever. The lever was to speed up and slow down, and the joystick was to turn left, right, up and down. The screen was blue with a green circle in the middle with a sketched drawing of a plane in the middle, which I was supposedly going after. There were also some gauges on the sides of the screen to show the distance between me and the plane in front of me, and the difference of speed between the plane that I was chasing and me. For example, if I was flying 800 meters away from the plane in front of me and 30 meters per second slower, then the gauge on the right showed 800 and the gauge on the left showed –30. All the exercises with the simulator were in speeding up, slowing down, and keeping the plane in front in the target. The exercises got harder and harder, but it was a pretty cool experience. The next part of the test was a math test on the computer. The questions were word problems, but I don’t think the math was all that hard. My problem wasn’t with the math; my problem was that I didn’t understand a lot of the questions. I asked the soldier who was running the testing if she could explain a word to me. I felt really dumb when she told me that it meant to multiply! And the words only got harder and more confusing. How am I supposed to know technical words in math in Hebrew if I never learned math in Hebrew? I decided that I was just going to continue and do what I could. At the end of the day, the soldier told me that I didn’t pass to the next round of tests. I wasn’t too disappointed.
Last week, I got the folder in the mail that gave me my options for the army. I had to rank them and then send them my preferences. Now, I’m waiting to see what other units I can test for. I’m hoping that I’ll get a summons to come test for the elite units soon. I will keep posting as things develop.