Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager

  Last Wartime Rank:
  363rd Fighter Squadron
  357th Fighter Group
  8th USAAF
Theatre(s): ETO
Victories: 11.5 Air
Total Sorties: 64
Aircraft Flown:
– P-39 Airacobra
– P-51 Mustang

Citizens Military Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana 1939-1940. Enlisted Army Air Corps on September 12, 1941. Flying Sergeants Program in July 1942. Received wings and appointed Flight Officer in March 1943 at Luke Field, Arizona. Assigned to 363rd Fighter Squadron/357th Fighter Group training in P-39 Airacobras.

Arrived in England, November 1943. Promoted to 2/Lt. flew P-51 Mustangs as Sq. Maintenance Officer. Shot down over German-occupied France on March 5, 1944 and evaded capture with help of the French Maquis underground. Escaped to neutral Spain until Summer 1944 when released to the British at Gibraltar and returned to England. First E&E fighter pilot allowed to return to combat. Became a "double ace" against the Germans including two Me 262 jets.

In 1945, returned to USA as Instructor Pilot at Perrin Field, Texas. Assigned to flight test at Wright Field, Ohio in July 1945 evaluating all captured Axis aircraft and the many test projects. Assistant Chief of Flight Test Operations, graduates from the Flight Performance School in 1946. Became Project Officer for the Bell XS-1, attaining the first ever supersonic flight on October 14, 1947.

In 1952, attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Became C.O. 417th FIS, Hahn AFB in West Germany and Toul-Rosieres Air Base, France in 1954. First-place honors in 1956 Weapons Gunnery Meet. In 1957, returned to the USA assigned to the 413th FW at George AFB, California. In 1958, became C.O. 1st FIS. Graduated from the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, in June 1961. In 1962, became commandant of the Aerospace Research Pilot School (now USAF Test Pilot School) for training astronauts.

In 1966, became C.O. 405th TFW at Clark AFB, Philippines, and flew 127 missions in South Vietnam. In 1968, Yeager became C.O. of the 4th TFW at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, and deployed with the wing to Korea during the USS Pueblo Crisis. In 1969, became Vice-commander, 17th AF, at Ramstein AFB, West Germany and was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1971, became United States Defense Representative to Pakistan. In 1973, General Yeager became Director of the USAF Inspection and Safety Center, Norton AFB, California. Retired from active duty on March 1, 1975. Remained as a Consultant Test Pilot at Edwards AFB, California.

Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star with 1 OLC
Legion of Merit w/ 1 OLC
Bronze Star
Distinguished Flying Cross w/ 2 OLC
Air Medal with 10 OLC
Purple Heart
Air Force Commendation
Distinguished Unit Citation w/ 1 OLC
Air Force Outstanding Unit
Korea National Security Merit.

Civilian Awards:
Distinguished Service Medal
MacKay Trophy
Federation Aeronautique International Gold Medal Award
Collier Trophy
Harmon International Trophy

Honorary Doctor of Science Degrees from West Virginia University, Marshall University, Salem College and the University of Charleston

One of Ten Outstanding Young Men by the Jaycees
National Aviation Hall of Fame
Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement
Horatio Alger Award
Congressional Medal of Honor
Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Yeager was the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in the Bell XS-1 rocket-powered aircraft on October 14,1947, at Muroc Air Base which later became Edwards AFB, California. Yeager was first to perform a takeoff from the ground in a rocket-propelled aircraft, the Bell X-1A and fly 2.5 times the speed of sound.

On October 14, 1997 as part of the 50th Anniversary of the USAF and his historic supersonic flight, Chuck Yeager at age 74, flew an F-15 Eagle to break the sound barrier.