Sid Antin’s Air Force career spans more than three decades, according to his daughter, Cherie Antin Fasbinder.
He piloted warplanes in three conflicts, yet only two of those wars were for the United States, seeing action in the Korean War and in Burma during World War II.
The path to the third conflict began at a Jewish community center, said Antin Fasbinder.
“Someone approached him and recruited him basically,” she said.“They desperately needed fighter pilots.”
Antin went to New York, eventually making his way to Israel in 1948.
Fighting in Israel
Israel had declared its statehood. Antin was one of the first 12 pilots with the 101st squadron to defend that declaration.
“He did two tours, and I believe each one was a year," said Antin Fasbinder. "He did one in ‘48 and was there for a year and came home for awhile and decided he wanted more.”
Antin Fasbinder didn’t know much about her father’s clandestine history.
“He just didn't talk much about that time," she said. "I think he didn’t want to be recognized because the United States wasn’t getting involved. It was illegal for him to be there.”
Now, a picture of Antin hangs in the halls of an Israeli Air Force museum. He and his fellow pilots are credited with being the start of the Israeli Air Force. They are considered heroes by Israel.
His daughter made the journey to see the image herself and said workers at the museum shared tears with her when she saw it for the first time.
“They were just in awe of who my father was and to meet someone who had been a part of it,” said Antin Fasbinder.
The Air Force would bring the Antin family to Kansas City in 1972, where Antin would work at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base until his retirement.
Sid Antin passed away in 2004 after his final battle: cancer.
Antin’s squadron called “The Machal,” or “volunteers from abroad,” are now the subject of the Nancy Spielberg produced film “Above & Beyond.” Spielberg is the sister of famed director Steven Spielberg.
Antin Fasbinder was recognized when the film played Sunday, Jan. 31 at the KC Jewish Film Festival at the Jewish Community Center.
Brian Abel can be reached at email@example.com.