The Jerusalem Post
Top IDF officer dies during training
Col. Sharon Asman took command of the Nahal Brigade on Tuesday
Col. Sharon Asman, who days ago took command of the Nahal Brigade, collapsed and died on Thursday during a combat fitness drill.
The incident took place at the Beit Lid military base near Netanya. He received medical treatment on the spot before being pronounced dead.
The circumstances of his death are under investigation.
Asman, who was 43 and a father of two, enlisted in Nahal in 1997 and held several positions during 25 years of service. He also took part in fighting in the security zone in southern Lebanon.
Asman served as an officer in the Operations Division of the brigade and commander of the 931st Shaham Battalion during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Sgt. (res.) Joshua Warhit was a lone soldier and combat infantryman in the 931st during the 2014 war, serving under Asman for the majority of his service.
“His commitment to both the mission at hand and his soldiers’ well-being remained firm and steadfast, whether heading a training exercise, patrolling a border or leading us into war,” Warhit told The Jerusalem Post.
Describing the heavy casualties from their very first night in battle in Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip, Warhit said Asman “knew when and how to command us, when to commend us and when to console us. His determination enabled us to remain unshakable even as friends were getting killed and injured. Much of the IDF’s success in Beit Hanun that summer – pushing back Hamas and locating terror tunnels – can be attributed to his impeccable leadership.”
Asman was also commander of the Etzion and Binyamin brigades, among others. He served as an officer in the Operations Division in the Northern Command before being appointed as commander of the Nahal Brigade.
Politicians and officers expressed their condolences, noting Asman’s exemplary character and impressive life
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sent his condolences to the family, saying “Asman was one of the best” who “contributed his best years to maintaining Israel’s security. His untimely death is an unfortunate and painful event.”
At a ceremony for newly graduated combat officers, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi called Asman “a fighter who excelled throughout his duties” and said the IDF “needs outstanding officers” like him.
“Sharon was a fighter who excelled throughout his roles, missions, he loved people... he was an officer and a gentleman! Look at him and do likewise,” Kohavi said. “The IDF and the State of Israel are simultaneously dealing with six arenas, and in order to successfully fulfill the tasks successfully we need the best commanders.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz expressed condolences while noting his personal acquaintance with Asman.
“It broke my heart to hear about the untimely death of the commander of the Nahal Brigade, Col. Sharon Asman. Sharon led combat soldiers in all areas of their service. He was a unique soldier throughout the entire command chain,” Gantz tweeted.
“I remember him well, as a platoon commander during Operation Protective Edge, and as a commander who led soldiers into the Gaza Strip. He was always focused on the mission, and exemplified heroism and peace of mind that characterized him so well... I send my deepest condolences to his family.”.
President Isaac Herzog joined Gantz in sending his condolences, referring to the incident as a “heavy loss.”
Commander of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen Eliezer Toledano said the loss will be felt both by the family and by the entire country, which lost “one of the IDF’s best field commanders, an
experienced commander... and a loving person.”
On Tuesday when Asman replaced Col. Israel Shomer as Nahal Brigade commander, Brig.Gen. Saar Tzur, the head of the 162nd Armored Division, called Asman “a commander and warrior.”
“Together with the brigade’s commanders and soldiers, you will march the brigade to another high level and to operational success,” Tzur said.
Shomer will return to command the Nahal Brigade following Asman’s death.
Military Police have opened an investigation into his death and will submit the findings to the military prosecutor’s office.
Details of the funeral will be announced later.
Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.