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Air Force announcement from Saturday, February 1, 2003 - Col. Ilan Ramon perished in the crash of the "Columbia" ferry

The Chief of Staff, Major General Moshe Ya'alon, Air Force Commander, Major General Dani Halutz, IDF commanders and soldiers bow their heads in view of the terrible disaster that happened to the space shuttle "Columbia" on its return to Earth

The Chief of Staff, Major General Moshe Ya'alon, Air Force Commander, General Dani Halutz, IDF commanders and soldiers bow their heads in view of the terrible disaster that happened to the space shuttle "Columbia" on its return to Earth. At this difficult time, our hearts are with Rona and the Ramon family, as well as with the families of the other astronauts who were aboard the space shuttle.

When he went into space, Col. Ilan Ramon, Air Force pilot and the first Israeli astronaut, undertook a mission of national and international importance, the purpose of which was to expand human knowledge.

Col. Ramon took part in a unique historical mission, and represented the State of Israel in the scientific research of the space shuttle "Columbia". The joining of an Israeli astronaut to the mission was made possible thanks to the special cooperation with the USA.

The IDF warmly hugs the family members at this difficult time.


Milestones in his military and professional life:

- 1974 Completion of the Israeli Air Force pilot course.
- 1974-1976 advanced training course on the A-4 Skyhawk.
- 1976-1980 conversion course on Mirage. 3
- 1980 was part of the team to receive the F-16 aircraft in the Air Force. Participated in training on the plane in Utah, USA.
- 1981-1983 Deputy Commander of Squadron B in the F-16 Squadron
- 1983-1987 studies at Tel Aviv University.
- 1988-1990 Deputy Commander of Squadron A in the F-4 Phantom Squadron.
– 1990 squadron commanders course.
- 1990-1992 F-16 squadron commander
- 1992-1994 Head of the Aircraft Branch in the Air Force.
- 1994 Ilan Ramon is promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
- 1994-1998 Head of the Military Equipment Department in the Air Force.
- 1997 Col. Ramon was selected for the position of mission specialist.
- 1998 Start of training for space flight.
- 16.01.2003 Col. Ramon Hamari took off into space on mission STS-107
- 01.02.2003 Col. Ilan Ramon perished in the crash of the space shuttle "Columbia".
Col. Ramon accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours on the A-4 (Skyhawk), Mirage 3 and F-4 (Phantom), and more than 1,000 flight hours on the F-16.


February 1, 2003 announcement by the Commander of the Air Force

Tonight at 22:00 the commander of the Air Force gave a message. These are the main points of his words:

"The State of Israel, the IDF and the Air Force today salute Col. Ilan Ramon and his six fellow astronauts on flight STS-107 on the shuttle "Columbia" who did not return from their mission. We embrace his wife Rona, the children Asaf, Tal, Yiftah and Noa, his father Eliezer and the members of the family. We share in the grief of the citizens of the United States, our friends at NASA and the families of the six astronauts - Rick Husband, William McCall, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chavala, David Brown and Laurel Clark."

"Ilan did not return to the mission to which he was sent by the State of Israel. We will continue to row and be at the forefront of technology, and unconsciously, I am sure that Ilan would have expected us to continue in his path. I would like to quote to you a sentence from the last e-mail he sent me 24 hours ago:

It is a great privilege for me to be in the Air
Force family for more than 30 years and an honor
to represent all of you here in space, opening a
new vision and way. Air and space are one
continuity. And here we are in space

This sentence brings it all together, and I also see it as an imperative for the Air Force to continue on this path, a path that has vision and innovation. Ilan Ramon is a member of the Air Force family, a member, a commander and a fighter."

"In my vision I surely see another Israeli astronaut. And this time, even more so. I have no doubt that in the future we will try to continue participating in the American space program."

The commander of the Air Force spoke with his American counterpart and with the Secretary of the American Air Force, and according to him, the details are not yet in their hands either.

The Air Force commander also said: "I suggest that you be patient, the investigation of the incident is by the Americans, and I am confident that they will investigate it according to the best American tradition. Space is a field where those who are not in it will retreat. I see this case as a kind of imperative to continue to engage in the field and bring it to completion."

The Air Force commander spoke with members of the Ramon family who are in Israel and now attempts are being made to contact him and Rona Ramon, the wife of Col. Ilan Ramon. The Air Force attaché in the United States, Brigadier General Rani Fleck, is on his way to Ramon's immediate family in the United States.

The Air Force flag was lowered to half-mast.

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