In Honor of Hannukah: Back From Iraq
Just as the little jar of oil lit the Menorah for eight days, Col. (Res.) Yehuda Koren was able to return from Iraq with last drops of fuel and even had enough for a “Victory Loop”
The Jewish tradition tells the story of the victory over the Greek occupation in Palestine and the reentrance of the Temple. The Jews find a small jar of oil that ultimately lit their Menorah (seven-branched candelabrum used in the Temple) for eight full days.
Col (Res.) Yehuda Koren, who was a “Mirage-3” pilot in the IAF, also had an oil miracle story of his own: in the 1967 Six-Day War, the small amount of fuel he had, was just enough for him to return from his daring mission in Iraq.
During the war, the military airbases in the Arab countries were destroyed. The story of Col (Res.) Koren begins during the second morning of the war. “I wasn’t supposed to fly that morning, when I suddenly received a call from the squadron who instructed me to go escorting ‘Vautor’ bombers sent out to attack the H-3 airbase in Iraq”, he recalled.
He remembers the journey to Iraq’s border over Jordan: “We followed the ‘Vautors’ at a low altitude and we climbed over Jabal al-Druze (the Druze mountain). Its ground was black and rocky, it resembled the moon. We descended from the other side into a flat, yellow desert, that didn’t have any villages or roads other than a road for camel caravans that went down from there, who knows from where it came and where it goes?”
“Enough for a victory loop”
The mission ended in a wild “Dogfight” which ended in two enemy jet fighters shut downs.
“I went after the ‘Hunter’ jet fighter that flew in the field. Striking him with a cannon burst from that distance was like striking a razor. When I shot the long burst I saw pieces flying off of him”, he tells. “In addition, I had a problem in the engine’s pump that I was only able to extricate on my second try. When I started flying back home, I saw a ‘Mig’ fighter maneuver with a pair of ‘Vautors’ and I instructed everyone
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