Hello, Old Friend – Veteran From Yom Kippur War Meets His Former Battle Tank

An unusual reunion – a man and his tank.

Yuval Neria, a tank commander during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, now a professor at Columbia University, climbed aboard the American-made M48 tank on October 6, the date the surprise attack started in 1973. He looked like he belonged there. And so he should since he spent 12 days in it during the conflict.

On that date, most Israeli soldiers were occupied with observing the Day of Atonement, but Dr. Neria was on the front lines when Egyptian forces opened fire. His company and battalion came close to destruction, he said.

Dr. Neria injured one leg and had severe burns. He never thought he would see the tank again which had a lengthy background before the Yom Kippur War. The tank had been sold to Jordan until the Israelis captured it in the 1967 Six Day War.

In 2015, the Old Bethpage – based Museum of American Armour came into possession of the weapon. Museum directors contacted Dr. Neria who asked them if he could see it. They said he could do more than that. He could drive it.

So he did and with skill and confidence. It rides very fluidly, he said. It was very pleasurable.

His family accompanied him for the exciting sojourn and were dazzled that he had the fortitude to spend 12 days in such cramped quarters.

Supposedly large men were in it, said Neria’s daughter Michal said. Even for me, it was tight. With everything that was going on it must have been extremely scary.

Currently, Dr. Neria assists war veterans to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder that once afflicted him, CBS New York reported.

He was awarded the Medal of Valour, Israel’s highest military recognition.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE