Remembering Chuck YeagerJanuary 13, 2021
A War Veteran Who Had a Way with Words
Although war heroes are not usually very approachable, Chuck Yeager proved to be the exception to the rule. Sadly, the decorated Air Force veteran passed away Monday at the age of 97. Interestingly, Yeager proved to be a formidable presence on the social media platform Twitter recently. Answering questions from fans and posting about his experiences as a World War II pilot, Yeager was remarkably humble and down-to-earth for someone who had been famous for the better part of seven decades. But it was not his World War II service for which he was most famous. His crowning achievement would come a bit later.
As the first person to break the sound barrier on a level flight, Jager paved the way for NASA and other programs that strived to make humans extend their physical boundaries and join the space race. Indeed, upon hearing of his death, former NASA administrators paid their respects and acknowledged just how critical Yeager’s contributions were to the space program. Both fearless and practical, Jager stated that part of the reason he had survived for so long was that he had been able to foresee potential issues and head them off. Somehow, Yeager possessed an innate sense for which risks to take.
War Hero as Family Man
Although Yeager lived a relatively glamorous life, he was also known as a devoted husband and father. Married to a woman named Glennis for 45 years, he had four children and then later married again after Glennis passed away. On a professional level, Yeager possessed a rare combination of daring and intelligence that made him a truly unusual person. Unwilling to take the foolish risks that fighter pilots his age sometimes did, Yeager manage to stay out of trouble while completing his missions in style. After all, there weren’t that many novices who went out on a mission and became aces on their first flights for the Air Force. Yeager was one of these rare people.
An Amazing Example of the Greatest Generation
In the wake of his death, it won’t be surprising to hear people refer to Yeager as the end of an era. There truly aren’t that many World War II veterans left, let alone any as prolific as Yeager when it came to shooting down Nazis. Yeager’s extraordinary ascent to success was captured in a 1983 film called The Right Stuff. He was portrayed by actor Sam Shepard in all of his glory. But the one through-line in Yeager’s life was that he just loved flying. In fact, over the course of his career, it is believed that he flew approximately 360 different types of aircraft. These days, commercial pilots may find themselves on just a few different types of planes. Yeager came up during a time when the ability to fly a variety of airplanes was a true asset, and he definitely made the most of it.