US aviator who helped form Israeli Air Force dies at 94

Mitchell Flint, an American aviator who helped form the IAF, has died. He was 94.

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 US Navy fighter pilot, died Saturday in Los Angeles of natural causes, said his son, Michael Flint.

Flint served in the Pacific Theater during World War II on the naval air carrier the USS Wasp.

He was one of the founding members of “Machal” (Hebrew acronym for foreign volunteers), a group of non-Israelis who fought in Israel’s War of Independence. He served under Commander Modi Alon and flew alongside Ezer Weizman, the country’s future president.

He was one of the original members of the Israeli Air Force’s first fighter squadron and helped train Israel’s first military pilots, according to his son.

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. “He was proud of what he did until the very end.”

By: AP and World Israel News Staff