Chuck Yeager Wiki – Biography
Chuck Yeager was a United States Air Force officer, flying ace, and record-setting test pilot, has died. In 1947, he became the first pilot in history confirmed to have exceeded the speed of sound in level flight.
Yeager’s career began in World War II as a private in the United States Army Air Forces in 1941. After serving as an aircraft mechanic, in September 1942 he entered enlisted pilot training and upon graduation was promoted to the rank of flight officer (the World War II USAAF equivalent to warrant officer), later achieving most of his aerial victories as a P-51 fighter pilot on the Western Front, where he was credited with 11.5 enemy aircraft.
After the war, Yeager became a test pilot of many types of aircraft, including experimental rocket-powered aircraft. As the first human to officially break the sound barrier, on October 14, 1947, he flew the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 feet (13,700 m), for which he won both the Collier and Mackay trophies in 1948. He then went on to break several other speed and altitude records.
Yeager later commanded fighter squadrons and wings in Germany, as well as in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. In recognition of the outstanding performance ratings of those units, he was promoted to brigadier general in 1969, retiring on March 1, 1975. Yeager’s three-war active-duty flying career spanned more than 30 years and took him to many parts of the world, including the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War.
His first experience with the military was as a teen at the Citizens Military Training Camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana, during the summers of 1939 and 1940.
He attended Hamlin High School, where he played basketball and football, receiving his best grades in geometry and typing. He graduated from high school in June 1941.
Chuck Yeager Age
Chuck Yeager has died at the age of 97-years-old.
Family & Siblings
Yeager was born February 13, 1923, to farming parents Susie Mae and Albert Hal Yeager (1896–1963) in Myra, West Virginia. When he was five, his family moved to Hamlin, West Virginia. Yeager had two brothers, Roy and Hal Jr., and two sisters, Doris Ann (accidentally killed at age two by six-year-old Roy playing with a shotgun) and Pansy Lee. He was a cousin of former baseball catcher Steve Yeager.
He was just 18 in September 1941 when he enlisted in the Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Though he had never even seen a grounded plane, he would earn his pilot’s wings by 1943, get promoted from corporal to flight officer, and go on to England, where he flew P-51 Mustangs against the German Luftwaffe.
The World War II hero shot down more than a dozen German planes, eight of them on two days – four planes each on Oct. 12 and Nov. 27, 1944. He also flew combat missions in Korea and Vietnam.
He was promoted to Brigadier General in August 1969.
Breaking the sound barrier was only one of Yeager’s many firsts. He was the first American to make a ground takeoff in a rocket-powered aircraft, which he did in 1948, the VA’s biography of him noted.
He also broke a secondary sound barrier, flying two-and-a-half times the speed of sound in 1953. The first pilot ever to eject under emergency conditions, he also became first pilot in the full pressure suit needed for high altitude flights in 1963.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan awarded Yeager the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yeager garnered numerous other honors, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015.
“In total, Yeager flew 64 missions during World War II and completed 127 missions during the Vietnam War, while also training bomber pilots,” the VA wrote.
Sam Shepard played Yeager in 1983′s “The Right Stuff,” based on the Tom Wolfe book that detailed the test pilots of the space program’s early days.
Wife & Children
Yeager married Glennis Dickhouse, and the couple had four children. Glennis died in 1990.
Yeager named his plane after his wife Glennis as a good-luck charm; “You’re my good-luck charm, hon. Any airplane I name after you always brings me home. Yeager and Glennis moved to Grass Valley, California, after his retirement from the Air Force in 1975. The couple prospered because of Yeager’s best-selling autobiography, speaking engagements and commercial ventures. Glennis Yeager died of ovarian cancer in 1990. They had four children (Susan, Don, Mickey and Sharon).
Yeager appeared in a Texas advertisement for George H. W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign.
In 2000, Yeager met actress Victoria Scott D’Angelo on a hiking trail in Nevada County. The pair started dating shortly thereafter, and married in August 2003. Subsequent to the commencement of their relationship, a bitter dispute arose between Yeager, his children and D’Angelo. The children contended that D’Angelo, 35 years Yeager’s junior, had married him for his fortune. Yeager and D’Angelo both denied the charge. Litigation ensued, in which his children accused D’Angelo of “undue influence” on Yeager, and Yeager accused his children of diverting millions of dollars from his assets. In August 2008, the California Court of Appeal ruled for Yeager, finding that his daughter Susan had breached her duty as trustee.
Cause of Death
Chuck Yeager, the pioneering Air Force pilot who broke the sound barrier and was featured in “The Right Stuff,” has died. He was 97.
His wife, Victoria Yeager, announced on his Twitter account that he passed away Monday.
“It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET,” his wife wrote. “An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.”
Fr @VictoriaYeage11 It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET. An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.
— Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) December 8, 2020
As one of the U.S. Air Force’s most decorated test pilots, retired Brig. Gen. Yeager first broke the sound barrier in 1947. He was the first pilot in history to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight.
“This is a sad day for America,” John Nicoletti, Yeager’s friend and ground crew chief, told CNN Monday night. “After he broke the sound barrier, we all now have permission to break barriers.”
Nicoletti said Yeager had gone through some physical challenges in recent years and had a fall that led to complications and other issues due to his age.
Yeager resided in Northern California but died in a Los Angeles hospital, Nicoletti said.
“Yeager was never a quitter,” Nicoletti recalled of his friend. “He was an incredibly courageous man.”