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The granting of the rank of brigadier-general by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott and the Commander of the IAF to the world champion in jet strikes Giora Epstein.
On Wednesday, 3 Tishrei, retired Israel Air Force Colonel Giora Epstein was awarded the rank of brigadier-general for being the world champion in the number of planes he downed. The ceremony was held at the IAF headquarters, with the presence of Lt.-Gen. Eizenkott, the Commander of the IAF, Major General Amikam Norkin, commanders, veterans, family members and other guests.
Brigadier-General Giora Epstein, born in 1938, and he grew up in Kibbutz Negba. He enlisted in the IDF in 1956. At first, he enlisted in the Air Force in a non-combat position after he tried to be accepted twice for an aviation course, but for medical reasons he was turned down. He then volunteered for the paratroopers and served in the Efah Battalion. In 1959, Giora was discharged from the army. However, he returned to regular service three years later as a parachuting instructor, and in the course of his service in the paratroopers he appealed his non-acceptance to the pilots ‘course and enlisted in the pilots’ course. He served in the 113th Squadron and was later assigned to the Dassault Super Mystere planes.
In 1966, he was assigned to the 101st Squadron. The first plane he downed was during the Six-Day War. During the War of Attrition, he served as deputy commander of the squadron and recorded four additional ‘hits. During the Yom Kippur War, when Giora downed 12 aircraft, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In 1974, he was appointed commander of the 117th Squadron and in 1977 retired from the IDF. He commanded the 254th Squadron and was transferred to a F-16 flight.
Until his release from the IAF, Giora Epstein amassed about 9,000 flying hours and 17 aircraft hits, making him the world champion in jet strikes.
Lt.-General Eizenkott: “This modest ceremony is an expression of our great appreciation and recognition to you personally and to the generation of founders who built a wonderful ability for the IDF and the State of Israel. The legacy that has passed over the years to IAF pilots and IAF commanders at all levels is a legacy of tremendous commitment, one of victory in every battle, of a mission of excellence as a way of life. The spirit of man and the spirit of the warrior whose battle rests on his shoulders. I think that characterizes you as Giora, the aerial fighter. I want to wish you good health, a lot of success and wish us all a Shana Tova “.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: IDF Spokesman Unit)