Brigadier General Amir Nachumi flew over 300 combat missions and is an ace in two different fighter aircraft with 14 aerial victories. Born in 1945, General Nachumi attended high school and college in Jerusalem and at age 17 he joined the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He rose to staff sergeant in an armored brigade, and in 1964 concluded national service. After graduation from Hebrew University in 1967, he was called to active duty and fought in the Six-Day War. Soon after, he joined the Israeli Air Force (IAF), earning pilot wings and his commission in 1968. During the War of Attrition, he flew the Dassault MD 450 Ouragan on 50 combat missions, then transitioned to the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. On 6 October 1973, sitting cockpit alert at an airfield on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, he departed moments before Egyptian aircraft bombed his parking spot. He and his wingman engaged a mixed force of 28 MiG-21 and MiG-17 fighters. In this first battle of the Yom Kippur War, Nachumi downed four adversaries and earned the E-tour Hamofet Medal for battlefield service above-and-beyond the call. He flew another 50 combat missions and added three more victories before war’s end. Next, he transitioned to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. As one of the first Israeli F-16 squadron commanders, he completed an instructor course at Hill AFB, Utah. Upon returning from his training, Nachumi immediately began training for Operation Opera, the Israeli raid to destroy Iraq’s nuclear reactor. During the operation, he led four of eight aircraft that destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad, Iraq. After flying through Saudi Arabian and Jordanian airspace and extremely low altitude through Iraq, the eight-ship F-16 flight destroyed the reactor with 16 2,000 pound unguided bombs. The attack was immediately condemned by the United Nations, but was celebrated throughout Israel because it prevented Iraq from becoming a regional nuclear hegemon. The utility of the strike became important to the international community a decade afterwards during Operation Desert Storm because Iraq was not nuclear armed. After the strike, Nachumi fought in the 1982 Lebanon War, earning six more aerial victories. Later, he worked in intelligence for four years and then became an F-16 wing commander. Nachumi then became IAF Chief for Operations and Training. In 1992 he headed special technology programs and served as chairman of a steering committee for a multi-million dollar research and development program. He later became Israel’s senior delegate during negotiations for an international arms control treaty. Retired from the IAF in 1996, he owned a consulting company specializing in military and civil aviation and has flown as a reserve flight instructor for the IAF flying school. Brigadier General Nachumi and his wife, Naomi, live near Tel Aviv, Israel. Brigadier General Nachumi was first selected as an Eagle by Air Command and Staff College’s Gathering of Eagles in 1999 and subsequently honored in 2016.
Aircraft/Specialty: General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
Brigadier General Amir Nachumi flew over 300 combat missions and is an ace in multiple fighter aircraft. In 1981, fearing the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor would be used to generate a nuclear weapon to strike Israel, Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered a strike before the facility became operational. During Operation OPERA, Nachumi led a flight of four in a force of eight F-16s to destroy the reactor near Baghdad, Iraq. After flying at extremely low altitude for a long duration, the F-16s destroyed the reactor with 16 2,000 pound unguided bombs.