By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
September 14, 2019 — New York … American Friends of Israel Defense Forces Search and Rescue Unit 669 will be holding their second annual gala event in New York on November 13.
Co-founder and CEO Bar Reuven of Friends of IDF Unit 669 said that the event will be held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York’s Battery Park at 6:30 p.m.
The event will be hosted by Bill Cohen, Vice Chairman of AFU 669 with opening remarks by Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of New York. Speakers will include Arie Belldegrun, M.D., Chairman of AFU 669, former head of IDF’s Medical Evacuation Unit, Smadar Shechter, first commercial flight captain and Noam Gershony, former IDF combat pilot and gold medal winner London Paralympics.
Members of IDF Unit 669 and the Cat Alumni Association are an elite team of people who dedicate their time in risking their lives for the search and rescue of civilians and military personnel in Israel.
The IDF 669 CAT Alumni Association’s mission is to help the Unit’s veterans while utilizing their contributions of “human wealth” for the general good of Israeli society.
IDF Airborne Combat Rescue And Evacuation Unit 669 is the Israel Defense Forces heliborne Combat Search and Rescue extraction unit, subordinate to the Special Air Forces Command of the Israeli Air Force. It is one of the four premier elite units of the IDF.[ Combat and support-staff jobs are multi-ethnic, and non-combat jobs are coed. It is the Israeli equivalent to Pararescue of the US Air Force.
IDF Unit 669 was founded in 1974, following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when an ad hoc medevac unit made over 5000 extractions. Its initial mandate was to extract and provide initial medical treatment to downed (and possibly injured) pilots behind enemy lines. Today the unit also participates in the extraction of soldiers of other branches of the Israeli Defense Forces, especially the Sayeret (Special Forces) fighters in operations beyond enemy lines and seamen in distress.