Tag Archives: US AIr Force

Jew of the Week: David Goldfein

Chief of America’s Air Force

General David Goldfein

David Goldfein (b. 1959) was born on an American Air Force base in France, where his father served as an Air Force colonel. Goldfein became a fighter pilot, too, and graduated from the US Air Force Academy with a degree in philosophy. He first saw action in the Gulf War, then served as commander of the 555th Fighter Squadron in the Bosnian War, and during NATO’s Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia. On one mission in 1999, Goldfein’s F-16 was shot down. He ejected on time and parachuted down in a field. Three Serbian soldiers pursued him, but he managed to escape, hiding in a ravine. Goldfein miraculously traversed an area full of mines, before later being rescued from behind enemy lines in a daring operation. All in all, Goldfein logged over 4200 hours of flying time. In 2011, he became a three-star general and was appointed commander of US Air Forces in Southwest Asia. In 2016, now a four-star general, Goldfein was appointed the 21st Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. That made him the highest-ranking official in the Air Force, overseeing half a million airmen, over 5000 aircraft, and hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. As Chief of Staff, he directly advises the secretary of defense and the president. Goldfein’s primary goal as head of the Air Force was to ensure the US was secure from, and had detailed plans for countering, the “four-plus-one” threat: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremist groups around the world. He also focused heavily on nuclear deterrence and preventing a catastrophic world war. Finally, he expanded the Air Force’s capabilities into the realms of cyberwarfare and space, too. It was during his tenure that ISIS was essentially wiped off the map and finally defeated, thanks in large part to the US Air Force. Goldfein has been decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, Humanitarian Service Medal, and countless other awards. His term as Chief of Staff ends next week.

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Words of the Week

Experience shows us that many people imagine false ideas to be absolutely true, and they generally remain firm in their beliefs, refusing to see anything wrong with them.
Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707-1746), Derekh Tevunot 

Jew of the Week: Hank Greenberg

The Hebrew Hammer

Hank Greenberg - 'The Hebrew Hammer'

Hank Greenberg – ‘The Hebrew Hammer’

Hyman ‘Henry Benjamin’ Greenberg (1911-1986) was born in New York to a Romanian-Jewish family. As a child, he was faced with many physical challenges, including flat feet, a stutter, and lack of coordination. He worked hard to overcome these issues, becoming his high school’s best all-around athlete, especially in basketball. He preferred baseball though, and after a year of university was signed by the Detroit Tigers. At 19, he became the youngest player ever to make the big leagues. He went on to be a 5-time All-Star and 2-time MVP, still holding the American League record for most RBIs in a single season. Not forgetting his heritage, one of his most famous moments was abstaining from playing a critical game because it was scheduled on Yom Kippur. In the midst of his baseball career, World War II began, and Greenberg was the first player to be drafted to the US Army. He was soon released from the military, but that was two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Greenberg thus re-enlisted – the first Major League player to volunteer – and served for 45 months, the longest of any baseball player. He rose to the rank of First Lieutenant in the US Air Force, fighting in China, Burma, and India. At the end of the war he returned to baseball, still in good form and immediately making the All-Star team. He was later sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who offered him $80,000 so that he wouldn’t retire, making him the highest-paid player of that time period. After retiring, he turned to management and brought great success to several teams, especially the Cleveland Indians. Perhaps most significantly, Greenberg changed the face of the sport, sponsoring more African-Americans than any other baseball executive. In fact, he befriended and supported Jackie Robinson, the very first African-American player in the major leagues. Having experienced severe racism and anti-Semitism of his own, Greenberg worked hard to make the world of sport open and equal to all. A Hall of Famer, Greenberg is still considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

 

Words of the Week

The entire world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to be afraid at all.
– Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Jews of the Week: Leo Kahn and Thomas Stemberg

Possibly Everything On Your Desk (Including the Desk)

Staples Founders Thomas Stemberg and Leo Kahn

Leo Kahn (1916-2011) was born to Jewish-Lithuanian immigrants who owned a whole foods store in Massachusetts. After getting degrees from Harvard and Columbia, Kahn served across the globe for the US Air Force during World War II. Following this, Kahn took his parents store to a new level, opening up a chain of supermarkets which today go by many different brand names, the largest being Whole Foods. His greatest competitor was Thomas Stemberg, owner of First National Supermarkets. After battling each other in price wars, the two came together (as all Jews should do!) and realized there was a serious lack in the office supply industry. Thus was born Staples. This chain now has over 2280 stores in 26 countries, with a revenue of nearly $30 billion and over 90,000 employees. The EPA ranks Staples as one of the top 25 environmentally-friendly corporations, and the company is well-known for their philanthropic work. Leo Kahn passed away last May at age 94.

Words of the Week

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.
– Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a