Welcome Back: IAF establishers visit and reminisce Welcome Back: IAF establishers visit and reminisce Welcome Back: IAF establishers visit and reminisce Four pilots, who volunteered to the IAF many years ago, came back for a special visit at the “First Combat Formation”. They were very impressed by the progress around the Force, which they helped establish. “It’s a great honor for us”, said to them commander of the Formation. “Welcome back home”

Shir Cohen

IAF Establishers come for a visit: Yesterday, four pilots of the “Foreign IAF volunteers” visited the “First Combat Squadron” in Hatzor Airbase. Years ago, four young pilots voluntarily recruited to the IAF and its battle for independence. In a nostalgic visit the four got to see the various advancement stages the IAF accumulated through the years. Back then they operated on Avia S-199 Messerschmitt, but nowadays they sat back and watched the Squadron’s F-16c taking off into the sky. “Seeing the IAF’s accomplishments makes me think of the past, and how proud I am of these changes today”, smiles Sunny, who was a pilot in Ramat David Airbase.

Mike Flint – the initiator of the visit – is in the midst of creating a documentary film about the Israeli Air Force. “I was raised on Israeli legacies and values even though I grew up in the United States”, he says as he describes what brought him to create this film. His father, Mitchell Flint was a combat pilot in the First Combat Squadron during the early years of Israel’s establishment, ” I was born in the United States and fought against the Japanese during War World II”, he says “I became aware of the horrors that the Jewish people went thorough during the Holocaust and heard of the struggles they had to deal with in establishing the Israeli country, I realized I was needed in Israel. Israel had no military or experienced pilots and so I felt the need to come here and fight for our right to establish a country”.

Amongst the various visitors was Major General Hertzel Bodinger (res.), a former commander of the IAF. “Years ago, when I operated in this formation, we flew in order to protect our country”, he says “Thanks to you, we are able to stand here and be part of an IAF’s combat formation”.
Commander of the Formation Lieutenant Colonel Amit accompanied the visit and answered many questions raised by the intrigued veteran pilots.” It’s an honor for us to have you here. Welcome back home”.