"Giora Even is Israel's leading ace with 17 victories! Born in 1938 as Giora Epstein, he grew up in the traditional frontier-farmer lifestyle of his home, Kibbutz Negba. An avid aviation enthusiast as a young boy, he poured over flying books and studied the biographies of Britain's wartime aces. After the 1956 Suez War, the 18 year old joined the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and applied for flight training but was rejected for medical reasons. Enraged, he went to his commander and told him that if he could not be a pilot, he wanted to be a paratrooper. He eventually made over 700 jumps and was a member of the IDF's parachute demonstration team. After seven years and countless obstacles, he was finally on his way to becoming a fighter pilot! Beginning in 1963 Even flew frontline fighters: Dassault Ouragons, Super Mysteres, and Mirage IIIs; Israeli Aircraft Industries Neshers and Kfirs; and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons. He accumulated over 5,000 hours of fighter time and scored 17 victories. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Even shot down 12 Egyptian aircraft, eight of them in 26 hours! After the war, he was awarded the Medal of Ideal, one of Israel's highest military honors."