Beyond the Barrier: Yeager, the war and getting home…

Posted by on April 26, 2008

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Recognize the pilot?

Chuck Yeager’s air exploits are the stuff I dreamed about growing up.  Although I never flew, dreams of sitting in the pilot seat of the Glamorous Glennis were never far from my mind.  Maybe it was the speed or maybe the adventure…of pushing to the limits of both plane and pilot.

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Serving in World War II in the ETO (European Theater of Operations), Yeager flew the much celebrated P-51 Mustang similar to what you see above.  Based in England, and flying successful combat missions, he was shot down in the spring of ’44 by an FW-190.  Says Yeager, in his work Yeager (3):

“…Free-falling.  Flat on my back.  Spinning from 16,000 feet…Below me…I see the black smoke from my airplane wreckage and sweat the slow ride down…I hear a dogfight raging far above me…”

Yeager successfully evaded capture and made it back, going through Spain and returning in May of 1944.  In the picture below, we see the actual report from Yeager detailing his daring adventure:

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All in all, Yeager’s career from World War II to the test pilot exploits and finally commanding units in Vietnam, we see a great American…and a great pilot.

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What a tale!

Try the links below for more information.  There are many resources in NARA, including his work with the sound barrier.

Have a great weekend, see you Monday!

Links:

Wikipedia: Chuck Yeager

National Museum of the USAF: Facts sheet Yeager

Sources:

(1) Nara

(2)Nasa: Dryden Flight Research Center

(3) Yeager, Chuck, and Leo Janos. 1985. Yeager, an autobiography. Toronto: Bantam Books. (cite courtesy WorldCat)

(4)Nara: keyword Yeager, search for pictures

(5)National Museum of the USAF: Yeager

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