Tag Archives: chuck yeager

USAFA Class of 2020 Chooses Bob Hoover as Exemplar

For the past few years each class at the US Air Force Academy has chosen an “exemplar,” a program USAFA describes as an opportunity for the class to

honor and identify with a past military giant, alive or dead.

This year, the USAFA Class of 2020 chose Bob Hoover.

Among other stories,

1st Lt. Robert Hoover, a former Army Air Corps, Air Force and civilian test pilot…of Nashville, Tennessee, was taken captive by the Germans after being shot-down by the Luftwaffe over France during World War II. He spent 16 months in Stalag Luft I, a German POW camp, before sneaking into a German FW-190 aircraft and flying to Holland. It was his fourth attempt to escape the prison.

Though officially Read more

Book Review: The Oranges are Sweet

Paul M. Sailer
Loden Books, 2011

The Oranges are Sweet is the story of US Army Air Corps Major Don Beerbower, the leading – though seemingly little known – ace of the 9th Air Forces in the European Theater in 1944. The book describes his upbringing in a small Minnesota town to his decision to enlist as an Aviation Cadet in January 1942, even though he probably could have obtained a deferment due to his family business. Beerbower wanted to be a military pilot, and he began his flying career in February 1942.

The early portion of the book traces his journey through the PT-17 Stearman, BT-13 Valiant, AT-6 Texan, and P-36 Hawk until he became an Army pilot and 2nd Lt on 29 September 1942 – the same day he became a husband. He would go on to fly the P-39 Airacobra, bouncing around the western United States as he trained and became an experienced leader, as well as flying in West Coast defense.

He finally arrived in England in November 1943, joining the 353rd Fighter Squadron as the first fighter group to fly P-51B Mustang.

Less than a year later, in July 1944 the 22-year-old Beerbower was Read more

Chuck Yeager Celebrates Sound Barrier Anniversary. Again.

Chuck Yeager’s relationship with the Air Force has been somewhat unique.  Made a Brigadier General, there were rumors he retired in a huff after being denied a second star.  Even after retirement, however, he continued to fly Air Force aircraft.  For a time, he even worked as a “contractor” for $1 a year, which gave him access to such flights.  He had a much ballyhooed “last flight” with the Air Force in 1997, 50 years after breaking the sound barrier.

Of course, he has continued to fly with the Air Force, including flights on virtually every October 14th to celebrate his 1947 flight in the X-1.  Last year it was in an F-16.  This year, an F-15 at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas on a Sunday romp to supersonic speeds:  Read more

Of Context and Caskets: No Wrongdoing in Controversial Photo

A US Air Force investigation into a controversial photo depicting an airman in a metal remains container (casket) determined there was no “criminal wrongdoing.”

Investigators have concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing by the airmen who posed for a picture around an open casket case with another airman inside wearing a noose around his neck and chains across his body.

The article does not say the airmen were punished; however, their instructors (they were students in a training squadron) were given  Read more

Book Review: Yeager

Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos
Bantam Books, 1985.
Topic: Autobiography

Yeager’s book is interesting for several reasons. Yes, he is famous for piloting the Bell X-1 through the “sound barrier.” Perhaps less famously, he was also a World War II P-51 pilot and F-86 and F-100 squadron commander. (He was fired from that last one.) In many ways his book describes the “standard” antics of a fighter pilot and can help an aspiring fighter pilot understand the “history” of the fighter pilot culture.

The book is by no means completely factually accurate and is obviously biased by the author. Nonetheless, it is an interesting read, particularly for those with an interest in military aviation, flight test, and military history. It should not be read as gospel, but it is worth the read.

Recommended. While not specific to the Christian fighter pilot, it can provide a greater understanding of the the stereotypical fighter pilot life. This recommendation should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Yeager’s actions or attitudes, some of which are contrary to what a Christian should exhibit.

This book is available from Amazon, as well as from Yeager’s own site.

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