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Mitch Flint's 91st Birthday at Commemorative Air Force, California

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Mitch by the Harvard in the CAF hanger
Mitch by the Harvard in the CAF hanger
On display poster from WWII
On display poster from WWII

Only a year ago, when he turned 90, Mitchell (Mitch) Flint's devotion to defending the State of Israel and his fight for her independence, in 1948, was officially recognized and commemorated by the State of Israel: (http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/red-around-the-wings/).

Mitch is a former US Navy Pilot and one of the Founders of Israel's Air Force.

This year, on his 91st birthday, last month, Mitch's friends, members of the nonprofit organization Commemorative Air Force, Southern California Wing, in Camarillo, gave him the best present ever, a flight in the legendary P-51 Mustang airplane, which is the last aircraft Mitch flew in Israel 66 years ago, almost to the day, and one of the many type airplanes Mitch flew during the nascent Jewish State's defensible War of Independence. The just born state was forced to fight and entered into the war in 1948, when she was attacked by the Arab states, a war in which Mitch volunteered to participate and fight and thus was won!

Mitchell is one of the key American pilots who served in Israel in 1948, and he is the last of a handful remaining pilots from that era whose courage can be seen as unbelievable history.

The spitfire in the CAF hanger
The spitfire in the CAF hanger
The Albatross
The Albatross
The majestic Mustang a metal war hero
The majestic Mustang, a metal war hero

Mitch and son Mike and guests
Mitch and son Mike and guests
Jason and Mitch before take off
Jason and Mitch before take off
Mitch Flint in the Aviation Museum
Mitch Flint in the Aviation Museum

Jason Somes the most experienced pilot and 91 year old Mitch Flint
Jason Somes the most experienced pilot and 91 year old Mitch Flint
Mitch and Jason getting ready for take off on the Mustang
Mitch and Jason getting ready for take off in the Mustang

Among his many aviation accomplishments, Mitch is the only known aviator in the history of aviation to have flown 4 of the greatest aircraft of World War II in wartime combat situations, i.e. A P51 Mustang, an F4U Corsair, the MK IX Spitfire, and perhaps the near impossible for an Allied pilot the German Messerschmitt.

Mitch arrived to the CAF hangar, located in the fresh air agriculture land of Camarillo, which is in fact a museum dedicated to WWII with a section for WWI. Family and several spectator-friends arrived to watch the flight's display.

Jason and Mitch getting ready for take off
Jason and Mitch getting ready for take off
Jason flies Mitch low for all the guests to see
Jason flies Mitch low for all the guests to see
Mitch and Jason arriving from the flight in the Mustang
Mitch and Jason arriving from the flight in the Mustang

Mitch was left in the trusted hands of Jason Somes, an experienced pilot who flew the plane while Mitch set behind him.

At 91 Mitch's exuberance of youth had not diminished. Mitch, mounted the plane with slight difficulty but once in the cockpit he was ready to take the flight he last experienced, or took, 66 years ago. Upon his landing he said, "It was fantastic and I enjoyed the ride immensely. I never thought I would get to experience three and half G's at my age! The Mustang is still one of the finest planes ever."

Mitch and Jason just landed from the flight in the Mustang
Mitch and Jason just landed from the flight in the Mustang
Mich by the Mustang
Mitch checks the plane before take off - last time?
Mitch after the flight
Mitch after the flight - it was not easy but he was thrilled

This story in photos is dedicated to Mitch Flint.

Happy Birthday, Mitch!

See also this story in which Nurit Greenger talks to Mitch Flint, about Red Around the Wings.

Nurit Greenger sees Israel and the United States equally, as the last two forts of true democratic freedom and since 2006, has been writing about events in these two countries. Contact her by writing to nurit.4.nuritg@gmail.com Read more stories by Nurit Greenger.

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