These are the words of Yechiam Sasson, J-Company Commander, 79th [Armored] Brigade, in the [1973] Yom Kippur War

Yechiam Sasson 10.06.2012 10:08
Gilad Desheh

Gilad Desheh

These are the words of Yechiam Sasson, J-Company Commander, 79th [Armored]Brigade, in the [1973] Yom Kippur War

DearSue Desheh,

[At theoutbreak of [1973] Yom Kippur War, when the Egyptian army crossed the SuezCanal into the Sinai Peninsula, engulfing and cutting off the isolated posts ofthe “Bar Lev Lineˮ along the Sinai coast of the Canal] the J company,under my command, branched into three sub-units, and was flung into combat inthe Qantarra City battle arena, charged with breaking through [the Egyptianlines] and extricate the Ketubah,Purkan and Milano forts from the infernal fightingthat encircled them just one hour earlier.

Thedetachment under the command of Deputy Company Comander Lieutenant Gilad Desheh z"l [of blessed memory] which included Platoon II commander, AvihuShapiro's, APC [armored personnel carrier] was charged with breaking through tothe Ketubah Fort and to rescuethe force there which was locked in by Egyptian infantry and anti-tank troops,two hours after they crossed the [Suez] Canal. 

LieutenantGilad Desheh’s detachment’s combat was exemplary: a courageous, life-imperiling, supremely uncompromising struggle to converge with Fort Ketubah andrescue its sieged soldiers.

LieutenantGilad Desheh courageously adhered unfalteringly to his mission serving as amodel for his soldiers driven by a sense of [patriotic] mission.

Giladexcelled as a gifted officer, endowed with rare leadership abilities, and wasknowledgeable in all aspects of [the unit’s] activities.

Ourrelationship extended beyond that of a company commander and his deputy. Strong bonds of deep amity quickly forged themselves, uniting us.  In Gilad,sensitivity, innocence and personal integrity blended with determination andsupreme professionalism.  I had the utmost confidence in Gilad and trusted uponhim completely and unwaveringly. Despite his relatively young age, I knew thatI could rely on him without reservation and he proved a reliable partner intraining the company’s soldiers and readying them for combat.

In thedays before the war, as tension rose and war seemed more impending with everypassing day, Gilad was my right hand, tirelessly toiling to bring the companyto the highest operational proficiency.  Several times I sought Gilad’s opinionon professional and operational issues.  His approach and advice were mature,to-the-point and abundant with acumen and wisdom.

Giladexcelled not only as a gifted officer, he possessed an exceptional personalitycharacterized by values, morals and love for his country.  He had a stunningsmile and illuminating eyes, an brilliant sense of humor and extraordinaryintuition.

Hislove of music was immense.  In the evenings before the war, when Gilad andPlatoon III commander Danny Winnograd z"l, who fell in battle on thesecond day of the war, would sing with vigor of youth songs of [the popularIsraeli rock band] Kaveret's [TheBeehive] Poogey Tales album, withBaruch’s Boots leading theplaylist.  To me, Gilad was also a personal friend who knew how to listen, tospeak his mind and to shed light on events with sensitivity, from a novel andrefreshing vantage point.

Thebitter and agonizing notification of Gilad and his soldiers suffering a fatalhit was conveyed on the company’s radio communication network as I was in thetorrent of battle in the City of Qantarra. His smiling image, his mischievous youthfulness interwoven with mature sobrietystood before me and gave me strength throughout the battles in that war andhave never been forgotten from my heart.

OnOctober 12th, 1974, one year after the Yom Kippur War, was born ababy boy, my first-born son. We bestowed upon him the name Gilad, in memory ofLieutenant Gilad desheh, z"l.

My hismemory be of eternal blessing.

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