Charles E. Yeager
Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager was born in Myra, West Virginia in 1923, the second of four children. He completed high school but did not attend college. His father was a gas driller.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps at the start of WWII and was trained as a pilot. He was shot down over France but was not captured. He flew more than sixty missions and destroyed a dozen enemy aircraft. After the war he became a test pilot and is famous for piloting the Bell X-1 to break the sound barrier October 14th, 1947. It is difficult today to recall the fears and fantasies that were dispelled by this acheivement. He continued to set new speed records and test aircraft.
He became the Commandant of the U.S. Air Force test Pilot Training School in 1962 where he was responsible for the astronaut school. He served as a commander in Vietnam, flying 127 missions. He retired from the Air Force in 1975 as a Brigadier General after 34 years. He has won practically every flight award posssible as well as a Presidential medal of Freedom and a special peace time Medal of Honor.
He married in 1945 and has grown children. He authored an autobiography, and his fame was increased by the book and movie “The Right Stuff.”