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General Chuck Yeager      

Retired Air Force General & Record-Setting Test Pilot; First to Break the Sound Barrier in Flight

Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager is a former United States Air Force general officer and record-setting test pilot. In 1947, he became the first pilot confirmed to have exceeded the speed of sound in level flight.

Yeager's career began in World War II as a private in the United States Army Air Forces. After serving as an aircraft mechanic, in September 1942 he entered enlisted pilot training and upon graduation was promoted to the rank of flight officer (the World War II USAAF equivalent to warrant officer) and became a P-51 fighter pilot.

After the war, Yeager became a test pilot of many types of aircraft, including experimental rocket-powered aircraft. As the first human to officially break the sound barrier, on October 14, 1947, Yeager flew the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 ft.

He later commanded fighter squadrons and wings in Germany, and in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and in recognition of the outstanding performance ratings of those units, he was promoted to brigadier general. Yeager's flying career spans more than 60 years and has taken him to every corner of the globe.

In 1973, Yeager was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, arguably aviation's highest honor.

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