Monday, September 14, 2009

Assaf Ramon, 1988-2009. R.I.P.

Israeli fighter pilot Assaf Ramon died during a military traning exercise yesterday in southern Israel. He was 21.

Now nearly every young Israeli man and woman does compulsory military service. But there were two things about Ramon that were notable. First, his father Ilan Ramon was a legendary fighter pilot who participated in the 1981 raid that took out the Osarik nuclear facility in Saddam's Iraq. The world condemned Israel publicly while thanking it privately. He was later selected to be the first Israeli on the Space Shuttle. Sadly he would not return home as he was one of seven astronauts to be killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion in February 2003.

Second, Ramon was determined to follow in his father's footsteps. It was only this past June that he received his fighter pilot's certification graduating at the top of his class. Today, he was buried beside his father.

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