Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin was awarded the Legion of Merit recently for his “exceptionally meritorious service” while in Washington, D.C., meeting with senior U.S. Air Force officers.

The award recognized Norkin for his “exemplary leadership and vision,” noting that his work “enhanced the cooperation and partnership between the United States and Israel.”

He also oversaw the operational capability for the F-35 aircraft, a “significant milestone guaranteed Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge in the Middle East region while greatly contributing to the security of the State of Israel.”

Norkin’s “strategic vision” for the future of the IAF was praised as a strong force behind the Israel Senior Air Force Conference in May 2018, which promoted “improved relationship with senior air-force leaders from the United States, Europe and Asia.”

The joint drills held between the U.S. Air Force and the IAF further “advanced the cooperation and knowledge of both air forces while improving the effectiveness of all airmen.”

“The U.S. 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 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein while presenting the award.

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

Former IAF Commander Maj. General Amir Eshel received the honor in 2017.

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