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Renowned test pilot Chuck Yeager dies

  • Published
  • By 412th Test Wing Public Affairs
  • 412th Test Wing

Famed test pilot, retired Brig. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager died Dec. 7. He was 97.

In 1945, after earning ace status for downing 13 German warplanes in World War II, including five Me-109 fighters in one day, Yeager was posted as a maintenance officer at the Air Force’s Flight Test Division at Wright Field, Ohio. He soon came to the attention of the division chief, Col. Albert Boyd, the father of Air Force flight test, who assigned him as an experimental test pilot

Probably his most notable achievement was piloting the X-1 experimental rocket plane, in which he became the first human to fly faster than the speed of sound in 1947, shortly after the founding of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service.

Yeager also aided in pioneering modern aircraft development during his nine-year assignment as an experimental test pilot by test flying numerous experimental, production, and foreign aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. This included taking the X-1A to Mach 2.44 in straight and level flight on Dec. 12, 1953.

Before becoming a test pilot, he served as a P-51 Mustang pilot in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. He was shot down on his eighth combat mission over German-occupied France on March 5, 1944, and only evaded capture with the help of the French Maquis. Unlike most downed pilots, required by military policy to return stateside, Yeager successfully lobbied his commander for relief from this policy from Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower, and returned to combat.

Upon his return to the United States, Yeager was assigned to Wright Field, Ohio. After coming to the notice of Col. Albert Boyd, he graduated from Flight Performance School, the equivalent of today’s U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, in 1946. He became the commandant of what was later called the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 1961.

Yeager’s last official Air Force assignment was as the director of the Air Force Safety and Inspection Center at Norton AFB, California, to which he was appointed in June 1973.  

Yeager was born at Myra, West Virginia in 1923. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in September 1941 as an aircraft mechanic.

His career as a pilot commenced in July 1942, when he was chosen for enlisted pilot training, and graduated in March 1943 as a flight officer. He retired from the Air Force in 1975. He was a command pilot and flew more than 10,000 hours in 155 different types of military aircraft. He was also awarded the MacKay Trophy in 1948, the Collier Trophy in 1948, and the Harmon International Trophy in 1954.

Yeager was promoted to the grade of brigadier general effective Aug. 1, 1969, with a date of rank of June 22, 1969.

Read his full Air Force biography here.


Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.