Captain Shlomit Yair Z”L (Photo from the Memorial of the Ra’anana Municipality)
We were close neighbors twice: once in Ra’anana where we lived and studied, and the other time at Ramon Air Force Base, where we shared side by side “pinki”, which was of a passable structure, which we also called a villa, a type of room and a half bathroom and shower. Me in the role of an Air Force Officer of Airborne Systems and Shlomit was appointed to be the first operations officer of the first Apache Squadron then called “Peten”, near the time the crates with the helicopter parts arrived at our base.
Shlomit and I were also close because we were “the daughter of” and “the son of” – and my father, Brigadier General Jacky Heskia, was also from the Greens, just as the father of Shlomit Major General Yoram Yair YDLA came from the Greens. This is also why we In the Air Force, it didn’t really matter, as we tried to be blue without family attribution and do what we did ourselves, as far as we could from the military career of the fathers. We met each other with everything we did and planned ahead. We would meet in the rooms and in the dining room: With the group of young officers and Shlomit, she was charming, with a huge smile and light eyes.
Shlomit was a breakthrough and really in the things she participated in was a sense of “making history”, lots of things happened for the first time – the formation of the squadron, how the helicopters arrived, the first time assembled, the first time they flew in the country. Even when they started making operational sorties and using the advanced equipment they had on them. For the new squadron they selected the most successful people in the Air Force, including a few air crews who recently returned from a special journey abroad to learn to operate the helicopter. And Shlomit, who was smiling and enlightening but also serious and absorbed in her work, all dedicated to her unique mission as a partner to the project to raise these planes to operation combat as quickly as possible. Her contribution was felt, and she participated in preparations, briefings and investigations, including of the most secret means and operations.
Until one Thursday, night flights were canceled because there was “weather” as we called it, and half of the squadron’s air crew, four in number, along with her, left home.
This is what the event describes:
“On December 13, 1990, a nightcap was canceled on the Wasp Squadron, which was at the time of the run as a Peten Squadron, due to bad weather. Minutes after take-off, apparently following the vertigo to which the pilot was hit, the plane hit a rocky mountain and crashed. Its residents, Capt. Ofer Zoharoni, Lt. Ziv Gruch, Capt. Gideon Zakkai, Capt. Danny Novogrutsky as well as Lt. Shlomit Yair, perished in the accident.” (taken from Sky-High.co.il).
It is hard to describe the shock and pain that gripped us all with the heavy disaster. Every name said from those friends hit deep as an arrow in the heart. Those who know them know, they deserve all the praise and respect of heroes. Shlomit, who was an integral part of the squadron and its life, also shared death with her fighting friends.
Shlomit was a beloved character, full of joy and life inspiring. She was a rare combination of sensitivity, abysmal seriousness and adherence to the mission. Shlomit loved life, family and friends, and they loved her back.
I’ll always remember her, with a huge smile and light eyes.