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88-yo Kazakhstan veteran in perfect shape: races tank, destroys targets

12 may 2014, 16:17
Veteran Ismail Galiulin at the tank firing range © Tengrinews
Veteran Ismail Galiulin at the tank firing range © Tengrinews

After a 60-year break 88-year-old veteran-tankman from Kazakhstan's Karaganda Ismail Galiulin showed that good skill never fades away. With a permission of the Regional Command of the Astana Corps he shot from a modern battle tank T-72B and successfully destroyed the target last week, Tengrinews reports citing Remarka.

Galiulin fought in the Great Patriotic War (WWII) on a legendary T-34 tank. He crossed the battle fields of Europe and went all the way to Berlin. He was hit several times, but his savvy and military professionalism always saved his life.

Now, the Kazakhstan army has modern combat vehicles that carry a much heavier armor, more advanced weapons and other equipment. However, mastering the new technology was piece of cake for the veteran. Taking the driver's place, he raced around the tank firing range.

According to Galiulin, the basic principles of handling the tank have not changed much. "A tankman must know his vehicle inside and out, that’s the way we were taught. Maneuvering in combat, making repairs in the field, retrenching correctly... if you make it right, you are more likely to survive," the veteran shared. 

"I have always been hungry for knowledge and enthusiastic about learning new technologies. Eventually, I knew my tank almost to the last screw. Nowdays most of the car driver have no idea what is under their hoods. But back then, everything was different. Maybe is was the thorough knowledge of my tank that saved my life," the veteran said.

Ismail Galiulin was born in a small Bashkir village in 1926. When the Great War was over, he served for five additional years in Germany and in Western Ukraine. After demobilizing he went to college and then graduated from a univerisity in Ufa as an agrotechnologist. He then moved to Kazakhstan to work.

Since then has has spent over thirty five years in Kazakhstan teaching in vocational schools and raising two sons and a daughter. Now he is retired.

Unlike many retirees, Ishmael Galiulin does not simply sit on a bench: "I always tell the young: "A river is a river as long as it keeps flowing. As soon as it stops, it turns into a swamp. The main thing is to keep moving, not to stop. So I would like to express my gratitude to the commander of Astana Regional Command Sultan Kamaletdinov who help my old dream come true."

Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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