It took awhile to find the gravesite of Glenn E. King. A few weeks back, I first discovered his name while reading details of the history of the nascent Israel Air Force.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations approved a plan to partition Mandate Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Hostilities immediately broke out in the land, and a week later the United States declared an arms embargo on the belligerents. In reality, only one side was impacted by the embargo – the Jews. The local Arabs were fully backed by five surrounding Arab armies, some trained and equipped by the British, among others. The decisive moment in the struggle came as Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948.

Glenn King died three weeks earlier in a tragic air crash. As his C-46 lumbered down a runway outside Mexico City, one engine began spitting and smoking as the plane strained to get off the ground.

The aircraft was overloaded with a cargo of weapons bound for Israel before FBI agents could stop them. Its engines strained for power in the thin air. The C- 46 rose briefly and then crashed in a violent, fiery orange ball of death. Glenn King, the flight engineer, was killed instantly. The pilot, Bill Gerson, died a few hours later.

Glenn happened to be an American Christian. Ironically, a Christian was thus the first casualty of the Israel Air Force.

Al Schwimmer, the legendary scrounger who helped assemble the rudiments of an air force, flew to Mexico City to claim the bodies and bring them back to America. Glenn was 31. He left behind a widow and several children.

Glenn was buried in a cemetery at the end of a runway in Burbank, California.

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