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New Nahal Brigade commander, 42, collapses and dies during fitness training

Col. Sharon Asman, a father of two, only entered the role on Monday; PM Bennett sends condolences: ‘He was one of our best’

Colonel Sharon Asman, left, upon his appointment to commander of the Nahal Brigade on June 28, 2021, three days before his sudden death. (IDF)
Colonel Sharon Asman, left, upon his appointment to commander of the Nahal Brigade on June 28, 2021, three days before his sudden death. (IDF)

A senior Israel Defense Forces officer died on Thursday after collapsing during fitness training at a military base in central Israel.

Colonel Sharon Asman, 42, the commander of the Nahal infantry brigade, received immediate medical attention after collapsing, but shortly afterwards was pronounced dead.

He was running alongside fellow commanders when he collapsed. They provided him with initial treatment at the direction of the brigade doctor, who was dispatched to the scene.

The military said Asman’s family was notified, and the incident was under investigation. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

He had served in the military for some 25 years and fought in Lebanon and Gaza.

Asman was one of the first soldiers to cross into Gaza during the 2014 war Israel fought in the coastal enclave. He was wounded in combat shortly thereafter, but refused to be evacuated, leading his infantry battalion to operational achievements against Hamas fighters in Beit Hanoun, the army said. Asman received a military citation for his efforts in that war.

Asman had only entered the role of brigade commander on Monday.

Speaking at a ceremony marking his appointment, Asman said, “I receive the command of this brigade with a sense of commitment to this huge calling. This is a brigade where I fought and unfortunately lost friends, commanders and subordinates.

Col. Sharon Asman (IDF spokesperson’s office)

“We are ready and willing to take on any task. We will be first at the forefront of every challenge, with a commitment to meet the task and win. We will set a high bar and make sure to raise it and remain relevant.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sent his condolences to Asman’s family, saying, “Asman was one of our best. He gave the majority of his life for the protection of Israel’s security.”

President Reuven Rivlin called Asman “a man of action with a big heart who loved his subordinates and all those around him.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement that Asman’s untimely death was “heartbreaking.”

“With heroism, initiative and humility we will defeat every enemy,” Gantz said, quoting Asman’s remarks from the exchange of command ceremony. “This is how we will remember him: a hero, an entrepreneur and a humble man who contributed greatly to Israel’s security.”

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