Early life and Air Force career
Hosni Mubarak was born on 4 May 1928 in Kafr El-Meselha, Monufia Governorate, Egypt. On 2 February 1949, he left the Military Academy and joined the Air Force Academy, gaining his commission as a pilot officer on 13 March 1950 and eventually receiving a bachelor's degree in aviation sciences.
Mubarak served as an Egyptian Air Force officer in various formations and units; he spent two years in a Spitfire fighter squadron. Some time in the 1950s, he returned to the Air Force Academy as an instructor, remaining there until early 1959. From February 1959 to June 1961, Mubarak undertook further training in the Soviet Union, attending a Soviet pilot training school in Moscow and another at Kant Air Base near Bishkek in the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic.
Mubarak undertook training on the Ilyushin Il-28 and Tupolev Tu-16 jet bombers. In 1964 he gained a place at the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow. On his return to Egypt, he served as a wing commander, then as a base commander; he commanded the Cairo West Air Base in October 1966 then briefly commanded the Beni Suef Air Base. In November 1967, Mubarak became the Air Force Academy's commander when he was credited with doubling the number of Air Force pilots and navigators during the pre-October War years. Two years later, he became Chief of Staff for the Egyptian Air Force.
In 1972, Mubarak became Commander of the Air Force and Egyptian Deputy Minister of Defense. On 6 October 1973, at the breakout of the Yom Kippur War, the Egyptian Air Force launched a surprise attack on Israeli soldiers on the east bank of the Suez Canal. Egyptian pilots hit 90% of their targets, making Mubarak a national hero. The next year he was promoted to Air Chief Marshal in recognition of service during the October War of 1973 against Israel. Mubarak was credited in some publications for Egypt's initial strong performance in the war. The Egyptian analyst Mohamed Hassanein Heikal said the Air Force played a mostly psychological role in the war, providing an inspirational sight for the Egyptian ground troops who carried out the crossing of the Suez Canal, rather than for any military necessity. However Mubarak's influence was also disputed by Shahdan El-Shazli, the daughter of the former Egyptian military Chief of Staff Saad el-Shazly. She said Mubarak exaggerated his role in the 1973 war. In an interview with the Egyptian independent newspaper Almasry Alyoum (26 February 2011), El-Shazli said Mubarak altered documents to take credit from her father for the initial success of the Egyptian forces in 1973. She also said photographs pertaining to the discussions in the military command room were altered and Saad El-Shazli was erased and replaced with Mubarak. She stated she intends to take legal action.