Amer­i­can flyer helped form Is­raeli Air Force

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - IN MEMORY - By Michael Bal­samo

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.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2008

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.

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