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Chuck Yeager (1923)close

Charles Elwood Yeager was born in Myra, West Virginia. When he graduated from High School, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps to serve in World War II. During the war, he flew 64 combat missions, and following the war, remained in the military to serve in the newly established US Air Force as a test pilot and flight instructor. In 1947, he was assigned to test a rocket powered airplane, the X-1. At the time, no one knew if a fixed-wing plane could fly faster than the speed of sound, and no one knew if a human could survive going that fast. Yeager survived the attempt and became the first pilot to break the sound barrier. He later went on to break other flying records, work with NASA astronauts and win the Congressional Gold Medal, which was awarded to him by President Gerald Ford.

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