12.01.2010

THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE: GENERAL CHUCK YEAGER

Sam Shepard and General Chuck Yeager

Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (born February 13, 1923) is a retired major general in the United States Air Force and possibly the most famous of all American test pilots. He was the first pilot to break the sound barrier (travel faster than sound) in 1947.

After the war General Yeager became a test pilot of many kinds of aircraft and rocket planes. Yeager was the first man to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, flying the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 ft. General Yeager went on to break many other speed and altitude records. He also was one of the first American pilots to ever fly a MiG-15 after it's pilot defected to South Korea with it.


During the latter half of 1953, Yeager was involved with the USAF team that was working on the X-1A, an aircraft designed to surpass Mach 2 in level flight. That year, he flew a chase plane for the female civilian pilot Jackie Cochran, a close friend, as she became the first woman to fly faster than sound.

However, on November 20, 1953, Scott Crossfield (NACA Team), became the first pilot to reach twice the speed of sound. After that flight Yeager decided to beat rival Crossfield's speed record in a flight series that was dubbed "Operation NACA Weep."

Not only did Yeager beat Crossfield, but he did it in time to spoil a celebration planned for the 50th anniversary of flight in which Crossfield was to be called "the fastest man alive."


In 1962, after completion of a year's studies at the Air War College, he was the first commandant of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, which produced astronauts for NASA and the USAF, after its re-designation from the USAF Flight Test Pilot School.


An accident during a test flight in one of the school's NF-104s put an end to his record attempts. Between December 1963 and January 1964, Yeager completed five flights in the NASA M2-F1 lifting body.
 
Yeager and Ridley " Hey Ridley got any Beeman's?"

In 1966 he took command of the 405th Tactical Fighter Wing at Clark Air Base, the Philippines, whose squadrons were deployed on rotational temporary duty (TDY) in South Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.


There he accrued another 414 hours of combat time in 127 missions, mostly in a Martin B-57 light bomber. In February 1968, he was assigned command of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, and led the F-4 Phantom wing in South Korea during the Pueblo crisis. 

On June 22, 1969, he was promoted to brigadier general, and was assigned in July as the vice-commander of the Seventeenth Air Force. In 1971, Yeager was assigned to Pakistan to advise the Pakistan Air Force at the behest of then-Ambassador Joe Farland. Yeager was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973, and in 1990, included with the first class of inductees into the Aerospace Walk of Honor.



Yeager made a cameo appearance in the movie The Right Stuff (1983). He played "Fred," a bartender at "Pancho's Place," which was most appropriate, since of Pancho's Place Yeager said, "if all the hours were ever totaled, I reckon I spent more time at her place than in a cockpit over those years." His own role in the movie is played brilliantly by Sam Shepard.


Chuck Yeager and Glamorous Glennis ...It's very important to note that General Yeager's success in his career supported completely by his fabulous wife "Glamorous" Glennis. She had a very tough existence being married to such a man for 47 years. Unbelievably ahead of her time. Glennis should be in the Aeronautic Hall of Fame herself!


Remarkably, Glennis Yeager had the kind of strength most people don't even begin to have. Strong willed and independent, by the age of eighteen she had moved into her own apartment and landed three jobs, one of which, social director of the USO, led her to meet the man who would become her husband. She was impressed with Yeager's no-nonsense attitude to life, and sensed that he was strong, determined person, the kind of man she had always hoped to marry, which she ultimately did on February 26, 1943. Sadly Glennis passed away in 1990.


General Yeager married (Actress) Victoria Scott D'Angelo in August of 2003. Their engagement/marriage sparked a year long legal battle between General Yeager and three of his four adult children. His children sued Yeager over protection of his assets from the new wife.. Read More HERE  

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the Chuck Yeager Story, I was very surprised to find it on RETRO: KIMMER......

    ReplyDelete
  2. Heather Harris12/02/2010 11:33 AM

    Nice to read the Glamorous Glennis info in there too.

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  3. Thank you for acknowledging my grandmother, Glennis. She was such an amazing and inspiring woman. Her strength was incredible, and so often overlooked. How I wish she were still here...

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