Numerous IAF Aviation Course seniors who received their aviation broach fifty years ago and became a part of an aerial crew received ‘Golden Wings’ pins today. Despite the constant attacks towards Israel, the IAF decided to not let it interfere with the important tradition whose goal is to honor the veteran generation of pilots.
“The IAF has definitely changed over the past 50 years, but has still remained the covenant of many successful people and advanced technologies”, said Major General Ido Nehoshtan, Commander of the IAF. “A large part of this is because of you. You have become a major part of both the force during war and our greatest victories, along with change we still need to have the best air force”.
Six Courses, 15% of the IAF’s Shoot-Downs
112 golden wings were given to the graduates of 1961-1962 Pilot Training Courses. 71 of the seniors came to celebrate the 50th anniversary, alongside the families of the 41 who have passed away. “I’m standing here filled with excitement, but can’t help the feelings of reverance and emotion”, said Major General Nehoshtan. “So many legends stand before me, people who have structured a meaningful layer within the IAF ethos. We counted 93 and a half aircraft shoot-downs in your courses: 15% of the IAF total. You have built the menacing, proud image of the IAF which still stands in the Middle East”.
Major General Nehoshtan mentioned that as he speaks, current pilots are completing their duties nonstop. “We work hard on maintaining aerial supremacy at all times. The IAF is stronger than ever”.
“We Made History”
“Ezer Weitzman gave us these broaches 50 years ago”, reminisces Major Shlomo Milo, representative of the Course 36 graduates.
“We stood on the plaza much younger and better looking. Today we are only good looking”, he says with a smile. “We’ve made history ever since. It began with the Israeli Six Day war followed by the War of Attrition, Yom Kippur and many other operations. Some of us even got to fight during the first Lebanon War”.
“We were the generation that designed the fighting spirit of the force, so I say thank you to the IAF for giving us the chance to defend our beloved country”.