Haifa Navy Port – Oct 2, 2019: Capt. Dr. K is only 30 yet he has already achieved two of the rarest plateaus in his community – he is a fully trained medical doctor and now, a fully diploma’d submariner – the first Druze “bubble head” in Israel’s storied navy.
Capt. Dr. K (names of soldiers in Israel’s special services are abbreviated to the first letter to protect them and their families) was accepted to the special “Atudah” pre-military academic training program which allowed him to attend and complete medical school at the IDF’s expense in return for agreeing to an extended professional service contract.
After completing his medical training close to the top of his class, Capt. Dr. K, whose grandfather was the first Druze officer in the IDF, requested to be posted in the stories submarine corp and to do so agreed to further extend his IDF service.
Capt. Dr. K enlisted in the IDF ten years ago directly into the Atuda Medical Training Program which he completed with high honors in 2016. He was positioned as a combat medical officer in the Artillery Corps and then in the 162nd Armored Division in Israel’s the Southern Regional Command.
When a combat medical position opened up in the Submarine Flotilla 7 Capt. Dr. K jumped at the opportunity and after passing a series of rigorous and unforgiving testing, was accepted for the position and yet still had to endure an additional 6 months of brutal and exacting individualized training by the navy’s chief underwater instructor before he could be certified and granted his Flotilla 7 “divers wings” – the first member of Israel’s Druze minority to be earn that distinction. (As if that was not enough – K simultaneously completed the equally challenging IDF Corp Medical Officer’s training AND a master’s degree in medical systems management at Bar-Ilan University).
“I am overwhelmed and grateful to be able to join this special flotilla family and to be given the honor to serve at one of the IDF’s most critical nerve centers. Serving in the submarine flotilla is a great honor and a tremendous responsibility,” Capt. Dr. K said at his private graduation ceremony. “Spending so much time at sea, much of it in treacherous enemy infested waters and totally alone off enemy shores knowing that the health of everyone on board is my responsibility is quite humbling. As we all know, the sub is equipped to operate beneath the ocean for extended periods of time – as the only medical officer on board – things can quickly become challenging and pressurized – it is the ultimate challenge for a medical professional – to bring everyone home safely – every sailor, commander and passenger – no acceptations.
“The Navy spent tremendous care and resources in training me to be a regular staff officer on these amazing ships in addition to my duty and responsibility for the health of everyone aboard the vessel. I pledge to give them more than their monies worth.”
“Obviously, I am most honored and humbled to be the first of my community to be afforded this opportunity – and to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather – the first Druze officer in the Israel Defense Forces.”
Story & Photos: Courtesy IDF Spokesperson Corp