IAF Chief Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin receives Legion of Merit

Norkin received the award in Washington the same day Hezbollah attacked an IDF vehicle in northern Israel.

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September 8, 2019 06:32
2 minute read.
IAF Chief Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin receives Legion of Merit

Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin stands alongside senior US Air Force officers in Washington. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin was awarded the United States’ Legion of Merit for his “exceptionally meritorious service” while in Washington to meet with senior US Air Force officers.

While there, Norkin held strategic dialogue and presented a strategic overview to senior officials – including US Air Force Commander Gen. David Goldfein, commander of USAF Air Combat Command Gen. James Holmes, Undersecretary of Defense John Rudd, director of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program Lt.-Gen. Eric Fick, and the Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy, Joint Staff Lt.-Gen. David W. Allvin.

“Today the cooperation between the Israeli Air Force and the US Air Force is at an unprecedented point in terms of depth and operational relevance,” Norkin said, addressing recent events in the Middle East and the challenges facing the IDF.
IAF Chief Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin receives Legion of Merit (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

“The visit is of great importance for understanding the IDF’s interests, especially in light of the operational intensity of the current period,” read a statement released by the military, adding that  “the visit contributed to understanding the needs of the IAF towards future aid agreements and continued collaborations with the F-35.”

Norkin was presented with the award by Goldfein in Washington on Sunday, the same day that Hezbollah fired several Kornet anti-tank missiles towards an IDF base and an armored personnel carrier (APC) along the Lebanese border.

“The US Air Force brings with it a multitude of operational capabilities, while the Israeli Air Force brings speed, flexibility and operational experience. Combining forces leads to better security of both countries,” said Goldfein while presenting the award.

Norkin’s “exemplary leadership and vision significantly enhanced the cooperation and partnership between the United States and Israel,” read the award, adding that Norkin oversaw the operational capability for the F-35 aircraft, a “significant milestone [that] guaranteed Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge in the Middle East region while greatly contributing to the security of the State of Israel.”

The half dozen joint drills held between the US Air Force and the IAF also “advanced the cooperation and knowledge of both air forces while improving the effectiveness of all Airmen,” the award continued.

The Legion of Merit award also mentioned that Norkin’s “strategic vision” for the future of the IAF was a driving force for the Israel Senior Air Force Conference in May of last year, which promoted “improved relationship with senior air force leaders from the United States, Europe and Asia.”


The Legion of Merit awarded to Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin.

The sixth-highest honor that Washington can give to an American citizen, according to US law, the Legion of Merit can be awarded by the US Armed Forces to foreign military and political officials who “distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.”

Several former IDF Chiefs of Staff have also received the American award – including Gadi Eisenkot, Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi. In 2017, Goldfein awarded former IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel the same honor.


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