Born February 13, 1923. Myra, West Virginia.
Glennis Dickhouse, February 26, 1945. 4 children (Susan, Don,
Sharon). Died of cancer, December 1990.
Victoria Scott D'Angelo,
Charles Elwood Yeager grew up in the West Virginia village of
Hamlin. After graduating high school in 1941, Yeager enlisted
in the United States Army Air Corps. Yeager was trained as a mechanic,
but applied for the "Flying Sergeants" program. Yeager
entered training in 1942 and was sent to England in November of
1943 as part of the first unit to receive the P-51 Mustang.
day, Yeager was leading three squadrons of P-51s, escorting a
bombing group into Germany. Yeager's squadron came upon 22 ME-109s,
of which Yeager personally shot down five.
March 5, 1944, Yeager was shot down during a dogfight with three
German fighters. Yeager, wounded, hid in the woods for a day.
He contacted a French farmer, who notified the resistance forces.
Yeager made his way through France and into Spain, eventually
returning to his squadron.
rules at the time required all downed flyers to be returned to
the United States. This was to keep them from compromising infromation
about the French resistance. Yeager petitioned all the way up
to General Eisenhower in an attempt to stay flying. By this time,
the invasion of France was underway and Eisenhower allowed Yeager
to rejoin his squadron. At the end of the war, Yeager had flown
64 combat missions, shooting down 13 enemy aircraft.
returning to the United States after the war, Yeager, and all
airmen who had been shot down, were allowed their choice of base.
Yeager choose Wright Field, close to his home town. At Wright
Field, the fighter test section was in need of a maintenance officer,
and Yeager was qualified. Yeager's performance caught the eye
of Colonel Boyd, chief of the test flight division, who encouraged
Yeager to attend test pilot school.
August 14, 1947, while serving as a test pilot, Yeager flew the
Bell X-1 past Mach 1, becoming the first person to break the sound
barrier (although there are some disputes to that claim). On December
12, 1953, Yeager flew the X-1A to Mach 2.3. Yeager left the test
pilot program in 1954, serving as commander for F-86 and F-100
returned as commander of the test pilot school in 1960 and later
the astronaut school. In 1968, Yeager, a former enlisted airman
with only a high school education, was promoted to Brigadier General.
was a primary subject of the 1979 book 'The Right Stuff' by Tom
Wolfe, and was portrayed by Sam Shepard in the 1983 movie based
on the book. Yeager has a cameo in the film, and has done commercials
for AC Delco and Electronic Arts.