American flyer helped form Israeli Air Force
LOS ANGELES >> Mitchell Flint, an American aviator who helped form the Israeli Air Force in 1948 and served in Israel’s first fighter squadron, has died. He was 94. Flint, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, died Saturday in Los Angeles of natural causes, said his son, Michael Flint.
Flint was one of the founding members of “Machal,” a group of non-Israelis who fought in the 1948 ArabIsraeli War. He was one of the original members of the Israeli Air Force’s first fighter squadron and helped train Israel’s first military pilots, his son said.
Flint and other members of the Machal had flown in German planes that were captured during World War II and covered the Nazi insignia with Stars of David. He flew in rebuilt Messerschmitts, Germany’s main fighter plane during World War II, as well as Mustangs and Spitfires. When he returned to the United States, Flint moved to Los Angeles and became a lawyer. He continued flying until last year, his son said.
“He was a humble man who did what he did and never looked for glory,” Michael Flint said of his father. “He was proud of what he did until the very end.”
Mitchell Flint, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, right, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, attends an event observing Israel’s 60th Independence anniversary in Jerusalem. Flint, who helped form the Israeli Air Force in 1948 and served in Israel’s first fighter squadron, died Saturday at age 94.