Alex Ziloni, one of the founding members of the Israel Air Force (IAF), was promoted last week to the rank of colonel in honor of his "many decades of dedication to the State of Israel," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.
Ziloni, 105, was promoted by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin.
In a tweet shared by the IDF, the military saluted Ziloni for his lifelong contributions.
"At 105 years old, founding IAF member Alex Ziloni was promoted to Colonel by LTG Aviv Kochavi & IAF Commander MG Amikam Norkin today as a token of appreciation for his many decades of dedication to the State of Israel," the tweet read. "We salute you, Col. (Res.) Alex!
Ziloni immigrated to Israel from Poland at age five. After graduating from school, he joined the Haganah paramilitary organization in Jerusalem in 1934. During the events of the Great Arab Revolt against the British occupation of Palestine, Ziloni moved to England in 1936 to study aviation engineering and later volunteered to serve as an engineer in the British Royal Air Force during World War II.
He went on to become a founding member of the IAF in May 1948, during Israel's War of Independence, the Jewish News Syndicate reported.
He served in the corps until 1960 and participated in aerial operations in the 1956 Suez War. Ziloni retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, later moving on to serve as a military attaché in Washington.
Ziloni negotiated with British officials in January 1948 to purchase 21 single-engine lightweight Auster planes, according to JNS.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.