Eaker, Ira

Eaker, Ira (Clarence)

(1896–1987) aviator; born in Field Creek, Texas. Commissioned in 1918, he entered the Signal Corps and learned to fly. He was part of a pilots' relay that kept a Fokker monoplane aloft over Los Angeles for a record 150 hours; in 1936 he made the first transcontinental flight using instruments only. On August 17, 1942, Eaker led the first B-17 bombing attack on continental Europe. He went on to command the 8th Air Force in England and, in 1944–45, the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces. He retired in 1947 and worked as an aircraft industry executive during the 1950s.