In light of the month of February, it seemed fitting to mention the great fighter and experimental pilot-Charles Yeager who was actually born February 13, 1923.This year would have been his ninety-eighth birthday.
Yeager was born to Albert Hal and Susie Mae Yeager in Myra, West Virginia during the Roaring Twenties. An intelligent child, Yeager showed a keen talent for machinery and early technology helping his father in his natural gas drilling company. September 1941, Yeager joined the Army Air Corps beginning in small trainers and working his way up the ladder. He eventually found himself in the Flight Sergeant Training Program in which he demonstrated a knack for flying, especially in fighters. Later, he joined the 363rd Fighter Squadron of the 357th Fighter Group learning to fly P-39 Airacobras. In December 1943, Yeager and the rest of his squadron shipped out to England to begin fighting the Luftwaffe. Once in England, Yeager was matched with the love of his life-the P-51 Mustang which he named after his fiancé back in the states- “Glamorous Glen”. During his tour of duty, Yeager shot down 12.5 enemy aircraft. He was also shot down over Nazi-controlled territory where he was rescued by the French Underground and even participated in Underground sabotage missions. Eventually he made his way back to the Allies where he completed his duties and returned to the states in February of 1945. When he returned home, he married his sweetheart, Glennis Faye Dickhouse beginning to raise a family. He stayed in the Army Air Corps, however, which soon became the United States Air Force. During the Korean War, he served as a test pilot flying the new jet aircraft coming off the line. He also flew combat missions in Vietnam. Yeager was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General before he finally retired on February 25, 1975. Throughout his Air Force career Yeager made many notable achievements. For example, he scored 12.5 aerial victories in World War 2 (as previously noted), served with the French Underground (also earlier mentioned), broke the sound barrier in 1947, test flew America’s first Russian Mig, promoted to Brigadier General, and at the end of his career racked up 10, 131.6 flight hours in 361 different aircraft. Chuck Yeager died December 7, 1941 at the age of 97. He will always be remembered as an American hero dedicated to serving his country. We salute you, sir!