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Israelis You Should Know: Ran Peker

IAF pilot Ran Peker (Photo: IAF)

Israel has produced many heroes throughout its history, both modern and biblical. The Jewish state lost one of these heroes this past week. Israel Hayom's Lilach Shoval reports that Ran Peker, a legendary Israeli pilot renowned for his dogfighting prowess, passed away this past weekend:

Israel Defense Forces aviation legend Ran Peker, known as an Israeli flying ace for his downing and dogfighting achievements, died on Saturday at the age of 80. He will be laid to rest on Sunday afternoon at Kfar Vitkin cemetery.

Peker, a brigadier general, served in a variety of military roles, including the commander of Tel Nof Air Base and the 201st Fighter Squadron in a career spanning almost three decades. During his service, Peker participated in the 1956 Suez Crisis, 1967 Six-Day War, 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the 1967-1970 War of Attrition.

Peker was born and raised in Moshav Kfar Vitkin in central Israel. He joined the IDF in 1954 and received his wings from Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

He began his military career as a Spitfire fighter pilot and was also one of the first pilots to fly the new Mirage fighter jets. In 1965, he was appointed commander of the 119 Squadron of Mirage III fighter jets, known as the "Bat" squadron. During the Six-Day War, the squadron under his command downed 19 enemy jets.

Peker was later made commander of the 201 Squadron of F-4 Phantom II fighter jets, known as "The One" squadron. During the War of Attrition, the squadron downed four enemy jets...

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