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Military forces have many heroes and excellent pilots in its long history Among them are General Henry Hap Arnold Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and Captain Marc Mitscher who helped carved the air power the Air Force now possesses In addition to these pilots a personal favorite of mine is Brigadier General Charles E Chuck Yeager He was a very influential figure in Air Force history He helped pave the road to a faster more efficient and more superior Air ForceGen Charles E Chuck Yeager was born in Myra W Va on Feb 13 1923 He enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps in September of 1941 and after serving briefly as and aircraft mechanic entered enlisted pilot training in September 1942 He graduated as an enlisted flight officer from Luke Field Ariz in March 1943 and was assigned to the 363rd Fighter Squadron at Tonopah Nev where he flew P-39s Prior to his record-breaking flights Gen Yeager was also involved in missions In November 1943 his unit was sent to England where he entered combat flying a P-51 Mustang He downed a German aircraft before being shot down over occupied France during his eighth mission on March 5 1944 He evaded capture and managed to convince Gen Dwight Eisenhower to permit him to return to combat with his squadron He flew 56 more combat missions during which he shot down 11 more German aircraft including 5 Me 109s during a single mission on Oct 12 1944 He returned to the U S in Feb 1945 and was assigned as a maintenance officer to the flight Test Division at Wright Field Ohio This is was an assignment which was destined to lead to a major turning point in his careerHis remarkably superb flying skills quickly caught the attention of Col Albert Boyd chief of the division and Col Fred Ascani his deputy Ascani recalled Yeager flew and airplane as though he was integral part
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