Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force


2013-02-03 by Ed Timperlake

A very powerful story of undaunted courage that made history is captured in the video below.

The first pilot was Leon Frankel.  Frankel was a US Navy WWII Pilot who was awarded a Navy Cross.

Leon Frankel was a U.S.Navy pilot during World War II and flew for Israel in 1948.

His heroic efforts during World War II culminated in the sinking of the Japanese cruiser, the Yahagi.

He was a volunteer pilot for the new Israeli Air Force, flying during the War for Independence.


The second pilot discussed is Lou Lenart who was a USMC WWII F-4U Pilot.

“The Man Who Saved Tel Aviv” for his exploits fighting against a superior Egyptian force in May 1948.

“I owe so much to the United States and the Marine Corps, which gave a young Jewish immigrant sanctuary and an opportunity to excel,” he said. “This climax is beyond my wildest fantasies.”

Lenart joined the U.S. Marines in 1940 at the age of 18, and after a year-and-a-half of infantry training he talked his way into flight school. A midair collision nearly cost Lenart his life, but despite doctors predictions he was back in the cockpit.

Lenart flew an F4U Corsair in the battle of Okinawa and took part in numerous attacks on the Japanese mainland.