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Brigadier General Chuck Yeager Left ‘A Legacy of Strength, Adventure, and Patriotism’

yeagerBefore there was a U.S. Space Force, there was a U.S. Air Force and before that there was the Army Air Corps and a genuine American hero by the name of Chuck Yeager.  He passed away on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, with not enough fanfare.  Oh, there were news reports about his death at the age of 97, but not enough of a sendoff for someone who did what he did with his life.  Perhaps it was because the COVID crisis was taking up so much of the media’s time; or maybe it was because it’s not in fashion these days to celebrate the accomplishments of daring, gallant, stout-hearted men like Brigadier General Yeager.

Charles Elwood Yeager had what author Tom Wolfe called “The Right Stuff.”  He enlisted in the U.S. Army in September of 1941 and distinguished himself right from the get-go.

Private Yeager was assigned to what was then called the Army Air Corps.  In 1943 he received his commission as a reserve flight officer and was assigned as a fighter pilot in the Eighth Air Force stationed in England.  It was the height of World War II and in the ensuing years he flew 64 missions over Europe, shooting down no less than 13 enemy aircraft.  It was reported that five of those dog fights took place in one day and, in the end, he even downed a Nazi jet fighter, one of the first of its kind on either side of the hostilities.

Yeager was, himself, shot down over enemy territory and with the help of partisans along the way made a perilous four-month trek to neutral Spain.

After the war he became a test pilot at what is now Edwards Air Force Base in California in the newly formed U.S. Air Force and performed what was arguably the single most important feat of the space age.  He became the first pilot to break the sound barrier in an experimental rocket plane designated as the X-1 but which he renamed Glamorous Glennis, for his wife who passed away in 1990.

His rocket plane was attached to the bomb bay of a B-29 and lifted to an altitude of 25,000 feet and released.  Yeager took the X-1 up to an altitude of 40,000 feet and accelerated to a speed of 662 miles per hour, well past the sound barrier at that height.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, called Yeager’s death “a tremendous loss to our nation.”  He remarked that “Yeager’s pioneering and innovative spirit advanced America’s abilities in the sky and set our nation’s dreams soaring into the jet age and the space age.”

Victoria Yeager, his second wife whom he married in 2003, described her husband as “America’s greatest Pilot” who left “a legacy of strength, adventure, and patriotism.”

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Rhonda Sherwood
9 months ago

My 29-year-old son studied Chuck Yeager for a science project in 6th grade and we’ve all been huge fans ever since 2002. What a great man who did so much good in his long life!

Gloria P. Sterling
9 months ago

One of our true heroes.

Pat R
9 months ago

Colonel Yeager visited the Commander where I was working for USAF in the late 1960s. Everyone at the facility was excited about his visit having knowledge of his daring flights. Other previous very memorable times included working at the Pentagon in an office that prepared briefing books for the USAF Chief of Staff. I felt as though I was participating in history — the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the stunned silence throughout all halls of the Pentagon watching the TV report of President Kennedy’s being shot. I was used to dignitaries walking through the halls. But the special time was when I actually rubbed elbows with Robert Kennedy as we passed on the steps of the River Entrance.

I married an AF man who served a tour in Viet Nam, gave me two children and retired not only from the USAF but then again from Rubbermaid. We had nearly 42 years together before he passed in late 2006.

God bless our military, past and present.

Old Griz
9 months ago

A hero of mine since my adolescents. I am now 74 and “Chuck” is still at the top of my hero list.
I still believe that the greatest “slight” done to such a courageous and talented pilot, was his removal for consideration by NASA and the collegiate indoctrinated JFK administration, to be a member of the “Mercury 7!” “HE WAS THE RIGHT STUFF!”

9 months ago

as a retired USAF AND US ARMY OFFICER I feel proud beyond description to be a FELLOW OFFICER with this AMAZING AND COURAGEOUS AMERICAN!!!! We BABY BOOMERS need to
read biographies of innovators like General Yaeger who paved the way to THE MOON AND MARS.
Rest in Peace Brave and Noble airman. LOOK DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND FAVOR US WITH Almighty God,if we are worthy.

Michael D Sadler
10 months ago

As I passed 70 I started writing the story of my life for my children and grandchildren so they could know what their Grandpa was like growing up. We were fortunate to be able to live most of our life as proud, caring American men. Chuck Yeager and Lindberg were role models for many of us. Especially for us who were involved in aviation in our youth. We weren’t perfect by anyone’s standard, but we were genuine, adventurous and enjoyed the life we lived. We owed a lot to the women in our lives, they were always there – through the good and the bad. We’re an old breed: trustworthy, loyal, patriotic Americans who still salute the flag and believe in God. We are slowly fading away into the winds of time.

Mike Kemp
9 months ago

I met his son and grandson while working in Sacramento. It wasn’t until my son became friends with his great grandson that I realized they were related to this great man. I had always wondered, but never asked. Very close, nice, hardworking family.

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