Back in college I had the honor to meet Israeli pilot and astronaut Ilan Ramon at an event in San Diego. Col. Ramon was slated to go to space with NASA as the first Israeli to ever leave Earth. The mission was delayed a few years and when it finally happened, Col. Ramon instantly became a national hero of epic proportions. Col. Ramon would never have the opportunity to share his stories of space, nor would he have the opportunity to bring back the Torah scroll that survived the holocaust because along with his fellow astronauts Col. Ramon died when the Columbia exploded upon reentry in to Earth’s atmosphere.
No comes news that Col. Ramon’s son Lt. Assaf Ramon, a pilot in the Israeli Airforce died when his F-16 crashed.
From the LA Times:
The young pilot’s single-seat aircraft had left a military base on a training exercise and dropped from radio contact when residents of a Jewish settlement reported a window-rattling explosion and a huge ball of fire rising behind a hill, followed by clouds of black smoke. Later the military announced that Ramon’s remains had been identified amid the plane’s scattered wreckage in a remote region of the West Bank south of the city of Hebron.
The cause of the crash and the pilot’s failure to eject from his plane were under investigation, the military said.
While I never met Lt. Ramon, I am very sorry to hear about his death and I mourn along side with the people of Israel who have experienced loss of a hero and his heir.