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Mitchell Flint, who helped form Israeli Air Force, dies

This 1949 photo courtesy of Michael Flint shows

This 1949 photo courtesy of Michael Flint shows his father, Commander Mitchell Flint next to an American P-51 Mustang in Israel. Credit: AP

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 Arab-Israeli 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.”

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