[December 12, 2020] It has been said that a hero is somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown. That, my friends, describes Chuck Yeager, flying combat ace, and test pilot – a real American hero.
“You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.” – Chuck Yeager
I’m sad to report that this past Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7th, Brigadier General Chuck Yeager passed away at 97. He flew a P-51 Mustang in the European Theater in WWII. He is credited with 11.5 kills (the half being an assist from his wingman). One day, he shot down five German fighters and shot down four others on another day.
Chuck Yeager was one of those rare people. It can indeed be said, “They don’t make them like that anymore.”
For all the things he accomplished, Yeager is best known for that day in 1947 when he climbed into the Bell X-1 rocket plane and punched through the sound barrier. Until that moment, going faster than the speech of sound was filled with unknowns, not the least of which were predictions of dead controls and wings ripped right off the fuselage.1
Whether it was his fighter pilot experience, being shot down during WWII and escaping, strapping on a bomb-with-wings (the X-1), or his time in three wars, Yeager was a man who did his duty. He was the right man in the right place to help advance the cause of freedom and for giving back to his country.
Yeager was a confident man with often tough assessments of the Air Force and its pilots. He was not cruel; he was brutally honest, which sometimes didn’t sit well with armchair quarterbacks. He said what he was thinking, regardless of what others thought, and that can be refreshing.
After he retired from the U.S. Air Force, Yeager traveled the country, giving speeches. During those years, it showed that Chuck Yeager loved to fire up the engines and punch into the air. He was like so many men after WWII; the lack of fear to try and die.