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Chuck Yeager, WWII Ace, Test Pilot Who Broke Sound Barrier Dead at Age 97.


DonLever
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8 minutes ago, Ghostsof1915 said:

I was following his Twitter account for years. Loved hearing his old stories. I wasn't a fan of his politics (He seemed to ignore some of the real ugly side of the right wing). 

But he rose from being an aircraft mechanic, to fighter ace. Shot down over France and with the help of the Underground got back home. Then was able to convince his superiors he wouldn't jeopardize the Free French if he was shot down again and finished WWII with numerous victories. 

Then he became a test pilot at Muroc. (What would be Edwards Air Force base) Rising to rank of General. 

 

I raise a glass to you sir. (I just hope this doesn't create further tensions in his family. Chuck's kids did not seem to like Victoria, Yeager's second wife)

 

 

We’re in great need of heroes these days. Yeager was a hero no doubt. Climbing into a airplane knowing the odds were against you coming back is an experience we will never know. Yeager was not unique in responding to the call in WW II but he made a life time of doing it. I will always remember the video of him being strapped into the ‘flying rocket’ he broke the sound barrier with. Guts!

 

In my town we just  lost a WW II vet who was 94 years young. His obit said he flew 54 missions and received 2 Disguished Flying Crosses. Lancaster pilot RCAF. The survival rate was less than 20% for 25 missions I believe. We lost another 6 months ago who I knew personally. I knew him as a quiet family man, gentle in nature, who never flew a airplane that I know. Yet in WW II he piloted a B21 bomber for over 30 missions. I think of these men and thank them for the fact that I never had to answer such a call and more importantly my sons did not have to. 

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20 minutes ago, Boudrias said:

These stories have prompted more memories of other vets I knew. We had a neighbour who would come to the field next to our place with his kids. They would fly kites attached to a fishing pole on a reel. I always thought this was the height of technology. This father was a big man with a quick and hearty laugh. He drove truck for Imperial Oil but did not like driving off the highway. He absolutely would not drive his truck up bush roads. I found out later that he was a tail gunner in a Lancaster. He drank a little to much. 

 

My father was a aircraft mechanic in England (RCAF) and never talked about the war. He took me to a cafe with a group of businessmen who met regularly for coffee. We were leaving one day and Dad paid for the lunch of a fellow who was sitting a couple of booths over. I had noticed him while we sat as he was talking to himself and acting strange. As we walked down the street I asked Dad why he had bought this fellow lunch. Dad said he was a war hero, that was all. 

 

My uncle and Dad joined up together and went thru basic before being slit into different units. They both ended up in England. Dad died at 51 and we never got to talk as adult men. I was laughing about the latest Hogan's Heroes episode one day and my uncle got very upset. The war was not a joke he told me. That started a conversation. My uncle told me that Dad's unit had to meet returning bombers to prep them for their next mission. That prep always started by cleaning out the remains of crews that had been killed. Dad had never shown us what must have been a traumatizing experience. So many WW II vets suffered in silence or used alcohol to hid the affects.    

  

I feel really fortunate to have grown up at a time to get to know people from this generation. It was a special group that did things like this. 

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1 hour ago, Jimmy McGill said:

I feel really fortunate to have grown up at a time to get to know people from this generation. It was a special group that did things like this. 

I think hydrating is appropriate as the vets I knew would have joined in. Above I mentioned that I knew of WW II vets who hid their feelings with alcohol. This is true but alcohol was also a tool of companionship. Although a son of a WW II vet I always realized that these men shared something that we could not. Nothing like a bunch of these men sitting around having beers together. Laughing, joking, talking about their fishing trip up into the mountains. I cannot ever remember any of those get togethers that had any war experiences talked about. Yet, when I think about it, they were all vets. They had a comradery that I have rarely experienced in my life. Men from a small BC town who didn't have deep philosophical discussions about right or wrong. They took 5 years out of their lives, risking their lives in the process, to defend their loved ones. I have a picture of my father in uniform on my Gramma's front lawn. He weighed 143 pounds. You know that wasn't overly light in those days. 

 

Correction. I said I didn't know any vets who talked about the war. I just remembered Bill. How could I have forgot. If he had a few beers he would talk but you had to ask. He landed his tank on Juno on June 8th, i think. He fought around Caen and was part of the Falaise battle. He was likely more emotional than he let on. He talked about what a tank was capable of. After the war he was a mechanic and could fix any piece of heavy equipment you could bring him. 

 

As you said Jim a very special group. If there was ever a common thread I remember about these men it was always we did our duty, did what we were trained to do.  

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