Gideon Lichtman, an American fighter pilot who as a volunteer during Israel’s War of Independence scored its nascent air force’s first aerial kill of an enemy fighter, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, JTA reports.
Lichtman, who died in March at 94 and was buried in Hollywood, Florida, will be interred Friday at the cemetery in suburban Washington, D.C. He fought for the United States in the Pacific during World War II.
He was a member of the Machal 101 squadron, a unit of American volunteers — many of them non-Jewish — who came to fight for the fledgling Jewish state in 1948 and helped stop the Egyptian army’s advance on Tel Aviv. He was the unit’s last surviving member. After the war he returned to the U.S. and subsequently fought in Korea. In the 1960s he again returned to Israel, spending a stint there as a test pilot.