Mitchell Flint standing in front of his P51 Mustang fighter plane in Israel in 1948 [Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces]
Mitchell Flint, an American aviator who helped form the Israeli Air Force in 1948, during the first Arab-Israeli War, and served in Israel’s first fighter squadron has died, the Associated Press reported. He was 94. Flint, a former US 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 Arab-Israeli war. (The Arab-Israeli War occurred when Israel was attacked by her neighbors immediately following the announcement of the independence of the state of Israel.) 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 Flint 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.”