Mitchell Flint, American Aviator and Founder of the Israeli Air Force, Dies at Age 94


June 27, 1923 – September 16, 2017

Commander Mitchell Flint, the great American warrior, ace pilot and a true hero from the Greatest Generation, died as bravely as he lived, at his Los Angeles home in the early hours of Saturday, September 16, 2017 at age 94, having served his country, his heritage and his fellow man. Few if any soldiers can claim to have served in World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and as a volunteer fighter and bomber pilot in the 1948 War of Independence for Israel. Flint is the only pilot in history to fly in wartime combat in what are arguably the four greatest fighter planes of the World War II era, the Corsair, the P-51 Mustang, the German ME 109 Messerschmitt and the British Supermarine Spitfire.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri on June 27, 1923, Flint volunteered at age 18 to serve the United States Navy in World War II and soon earned his Naval Aviator Wings of Gold in Corpus Christie. Fighting in the Pacific Theatre, he flew dive-bombing missions off of the USS WASP in the F6F Hellcat and the F4U Corsair. Flint would prove his mastery of this plane, chasing and bringing down the very fast kamikaze C6N Saiun Myrt. His conquests earned him three Air Medals and eight Navy Unit Commendations.

Following the war, Flint, who would later become a practicing attorney in Hollywood, was headed to the 1948 Olympic games to celebrate his graduation from UC-Berkeley in June of 1948. Hearing the call of a distant conflict that threatened the lives of the holocaust survivors that had migrated to Israel in hopes of a better life, Flint, a Jew, decided to volunteer his pilot services for the sake of his ancestral homeland. To save his mother from any anguish and not wanting the US State Department to discover his legally forbidden choice, Flint, through a ruse of postcards that would be sent from London, made it appear he was gone to the London Olympics.

Flint went on to Czechoslovakia, and for much of July he trained on the Avia S-199, which he and most of the pilots referred to as a “flying coffin”. By August, Flint would start to fly for the fledgling State of Israel, now threatened by the Arab forces. Flint, on August 15, narrowly escaped being under fire from the Egyptians, but emerged unscathed. On…

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