Chuck Yeager

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Chuck Yeager : biography

13 February 1923 –

Additionally, Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia, is named after Yeager. The Interstate 64/Interstate 77 bridge over the Kanawha River in Charleston is named in his honor. On October 19, 2006, the state of West Virginia also honored Yeager with a marker along Corridor G (part of U.S. 119) in his home Lincoln County, as well as renamed part of the highway the Yeager Highway. WOWK-TV, August 19, 2006.

Yeager is an Honorary Board Member of the humanitarian organization Wings of Hope. Wings of Hope. Retrieved: December 8, 2010. On August 25, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announced that Yeager would be one of 13 California Hall of Fame inductees in The California Museum’s yearlong exhibit. The induction ceremony was on December 1, 2009 in Sacramento, California.

Career

World War II

Yeager enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) on September 12, 1941, and became an aircraft mechanic at George Air Force Base, Victorville, California. At enlistment, Yeager was not eligible for flight training because of his age and educational background, but the entry of the U.S. into World War II less than two months later, prompted the USAAF to alter its recruiting standards. Blessed with unusually sharp vision (with a visual acuity rated 20/10, which once enabled him to shoot a deer at ,Yeager and Janos 1985, p. 297.), Yeager displayed natural talent as a pilot and was accepted for flight training.

He received his wings and a promotion to Flight Officer at Luke Field, Arizona, where he graduated from class 43C on March 10, 1943. Assigned to the 357th Fighter Group at Tonopah, Nevada, he initially trained as a fighter pilot, flying Bell P-39 Airacobras (earning a seven-day grounding order for pruning a tree belonging to a local farmer during a training flight),Take Off magazine, Issue 36, p. 991. and went overseas with the group on November 23, 1943.

Stationed in the United Kingdom at RAF Leiston, Yeager flew P-51 Mustangs in combat with the 363rd Fighter Squadron. He named his aircraft Glamorous Glennis cebudanderson.com. Retrieved: December 8, 2010. after his girlfriend, Glennis Faye Dickhouse, who became his wife in February 1945. Yeager had gained one victory before he was shot down over France on his eighth mission, on March 5, 1944. narademo.umiacs.umd.edu. Retrieved: December 8, 2010. He escaped to Spain on March 30 with the help of the Maquis (French Resistance) and returned to England on May 15, 1944. During his stay with the Maquis, Yeager assisted the guerrillas in duties that did not involve direct combat, although he did help to construct bombs for the group, a skill that he had learned from his father.Yeager and Janos 1985, p. 45. He was awarded the Bronze Star for helping another airman, who had lost part of his leg during the escape attempt, to cross the Pyrenees.

Despite a regulation that "evaders" (escaped pilots) could not fly over enemy territory again to avoid compromising resistance groups, Yeager was reinstated to flying combat. He had joined another evader, bomber pilot Captain Fred Glover, in speaking directly to the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, on June 12, 1944. With Glover pleading their case, they argued that because the Allies had invaded France and the Maquis resistance movement was by then openly fighting the Nazis alongside Allied troops, if Yeager or Glover were shot down again, there was little or nothing about those who had previously helped them evade capture that could be revealed to the enemy.

Eisenhower, after gaining permission from the War Department to decide the requests, concurred with Yeager and Glover. Yeager later credited his postwar success in the air force to this decision, saying that his test pilot career followed naturally from his having been a decorated combat pilot, along with having been an aircraft mechanic prior to attending pilot school. In part, because of his maintenance background, he also frequently served as a maintenance officer in his flying units.