BALTIMORE — Soon after the Lebanon War began in June, 1982, Avigdor Chen’s tank unit fell into a trap. Artillery rained from high ground occupied by the Syrians near the village of Sultan Yacoub. The battle continued all night.
When dawn broke, Chen saw a struck Israeli tank some 100 yards away. With smoke billowing from it, the tank rolled downhill. Chen ran toward the now-stopped tank. He smelled burning human flesh and looked inside. The commander, Zohar Lipschitz, was dead. Chen ventured no further into the tank, knowing that another shell could follow imminently.
Chen later learned that Yehuda Katz also had been inside the tank.
Katz, then 25; Zachary Baumel, 21, with whom Chen had been friends since basic training; and a third soldier, Zvi Feldman, 22, have been missing ever since that battle, which took place 30 years ago, on June 11.