By Russell Miller
Milt Rubenfeld, a U. S. Combat veteran of WWII, covertly flew for the New State of Israel in 1948 along with another U. S. pilot, named Lenart. Under attack by the Arab States, Israel purchased four S-199’s – designed after the German Messerschmitt BF-109 (… the irony was not lost of these pilots). As of Israel’s independence day – May 14, 1948 – these four planes (and five pilots) constituted the entire Israeli Air Force and stopped the Arab ground forces from marching into Tel Aviv. Rubenfeld, on a one man mission, was shot down and managed to bail out over the Mediterranean Sea. His chute did not fully deploy and he was injured upon landing. Because Israeli citizens did not know an “air-force” existed, many of the friendly moshavniks began shooting at the downed pilot, who, not knowing any Hebrew – began shouting (with his arms raised) all the Yiddish words he knew…like “matzo ball”, and “gefilte fish”! He returned to the U. S. to complete his healing.
ODDLY ENOUGH – Milt Rubenfeld is none other than the father of actor Paul Reubens, better known Pee Wee Herman. Milt and his wife Judy were also cast as extras in Reubens 1988 film Big Top Pee-Wee.
Bonus Oddly- Flying for another country was extremely dangerous. It could have meant arrest for treason, and losing one’s citizenship. So- volunteering to fly combat missions in Israel took as much courage as facing the daunting odds presented by the actual combat.
The Leatherback Sea Turtle is the world’s largest turtle, measuring over 6 feet in length and weighing over a ton. It is also the most migratory, swimming the entire globe crossing both Atlantic and Pacific oceans. As its name implies, the Leatherback does not have a hard shell, rather its outside is made up of a covering of fat and cartilage coated with a rubber-like skin. Swift, this turtle can swim over 35 mph. It primarily eats jellyfish and will eat twice its body weight every day!
ODDLY ENOUGH – This is one of the earths deepest diving animals. It has been recorded diving over 4,200 feet, outmatched only by Sperm Whales, Elephant Seals, and Beaked Whales.
Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and former reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King.