60 years to the “First Combat Squadron” 60 years to the “First Combat Squadron” Recently, the “First Combat Squadron” celebrated its 60th birthday.

Shani Pais | Translation: Nikolai Avrutov



The festive ceremony was attended by the Air force commander Maj. Gen Ido Nehoshtan, senior current and past command staff, Hatzor base commander Col. Ariel, bereaved families of squadron’s pilots, and many generations of the squadron’s staff.


Symbolically, the ceremony took place on May 29th, the date when the squadron made its first sortie. At that sortie, four Messerschmitt planes attacked Egyptian forces near Ashdod. One of the four pilots, 87-year-old Lou Lenart, arrived from the United States to participate at the ceremony. He came up to the stage, and received  the pilot’s jacket  that was given toPrime Minister Izhak Rabin some 20 years ago by the current squadron commander, Lt. Col. Y. Lenart was accompanied by Col (in reserve) Dani Shapira, IAF’s first experimental pilot.

In his address, Maj. Gen. Nehoshtan said: “the Israeli Air Force is one of the best and most experienced in the world. The “First Combat Squadron” is a central part of the air force, and played a major role in the building of the state of Israel, by defending it throughout the wars we’ve had. It continues to be central in today’s air force as well”.