The Israel Air Force (IAF) Combat Rescue Unit is named 669, after the number of times Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible, which is 669 times.
The mandate of the unit is to rescue downed pilots and execute airborne medical evacuation of critical casualties. Due to the 669 unique specialties and high proficiency, the unit may also accept various other special operational missions, in Israel and abroad, depending on the needs of the Air Force and the IDF.
Established in 1974, after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and its conclusions, the Unit’s original mission was to recover ejected IAF Pilots who had been shot down from behind enemy lines. Today, Unit 669 is responsible for the rescue and evacuation of all Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) personnel. From ground forces, to naval commandos, and the Air-Force, the unit’s squads are ready for action to save lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
Members of the Unit 669, with a flying cat logo, see themselves as Israel’s safety net; a humanitarian military unit its members’ job is to save lives not to take them away. A unit whose soldiers risk their lives to rescue anyone – in Israel and abroad – who finds themself in a life-threatening situation.
The IDF is a conscription force. It is the army of the people by the people for the people. In order to be a member of Unit 669 one has to volunteer and serve for five years, unlike the IDF 3 years’ service standard.
Above the highly challenging training, the members of the Unit 669 learn CPR and first aid.
I should add here that at the end of 2018, I was invited to attend Israel’s Air Force pilots’ graduation ceremony that included the Unit 669 rescue exhibit, which I found to be riveting.
Unit 669 Goal
To be as creative as possible and to take on more tasks and responsibilities so its members can be more successful, perform so much better and thus save many more lives.
Knowing the Israelis who always seek to invent and innovate and knowing the IDF, its name to fame walks before it, the 669 Unit is making its mark in the annals of saving lives at home and abroad.
Unit 669 International Aspect
The unit sends specific delegations to train with American military service men.
Rescue units are dispatched to anywhere in the world from where the call to help comes.
Post Regular Service
The “Cat” organization – Elite Unit 669 Alumni, founded on the Unit’s values of helping others, social responsibility, and contributing to make the county and its people stronger, is comprised of 50 motivating members’ body and 1000 members’ core. They see their civilian life as an extension and continuation of their active duty service.
I recently met three, most impressive, members of the Elite Unit 669 Alumni who were traveling coast-to-coast United States, introducing the Unit 669 and its Alumni Organization to the American public at large.
Beyond their 5 years’ active service, during their civilian life, the 669 alumni are as active as if they were still on active duty; they are called for reserve service more often than any other IDF reserves.
The alumni organization works in many ways and has many activities in the pursuit of saving lives. It offers a number of projects designed to make social change and improve access to knowledge and experience in order to save lives:
Project Heart, provides lifesaving knowledge to the public sphere based on the knowledge and experience of the Unit’s members.
Helping the unit’s veteran with stipends.
Workshops for veteran to help them make the transition to civilian life.
Project medical aid emergency kit its destination is to every home, car, office, business in Israel.
Project Travel Safe along with an app, for the adventurers who travel the world to places of possible risk, enabling to call for immediate help when help is needed.
Project Reverence of Country’s Rebirth, Historic and Conscience Past, during the National Remembrance Day, based on the Unit’s battles’ legacy, connecting to values, honoring the fighters along with telling about heroic rescue stories.
First Responder which they teach to synagogue members, in Israel and abroad.
Handling Jewish communities’ crisis scenarios, in Israel and abroad.
An international medical conference in which members of organizations, who work to save lives, from all over the world are invited to establish between all.
With a budget of $1 million the CAT Organization can function well at present. With $3 million budget, they can train more, do more and have greater social impact.
669 Unit’s Friends
American Friends of Unit 669 is a non-profit organization, founded in 2019 by US citizens to fully integrate and support the Unit’s core values of helping others, social responsibility, and contributing to make other people stronger.
The AFU669 is a platform for graduates to continue their kinship and get help and guidance in their post military careers. Its main goal is to support the “CAT Association,” linking generations of former unit’s soldiers to make the most of human capital embodied in them, to benefit them, the Unit and the entire Israeli Society, as well as in other places around the globe where and when needed.
You Are Invited to the 2nd Annual Gala Event
On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, in New York City: Info@669.org.il.
Join and help the brave who drop from the sky to save life.