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Yeager, Chuck(Charles Elwood Yeager), 1923–, American aviator. A fighter pilot during World War II, he was a test pilot during the early postwar years. Among other records, he was the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound (1947) and set a world speed record of 1,650 mph (1953). His obvious bravery, technical skill, and unaffected manner have made him the quintessential American hero. He wrote his autobiography, Yeager (with Leo Janos, 1985).
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Yeager, (Charles Elwood) Chuck(1923– ) aviator, test pilot; born in Myra, W.Va. A fighter pilot ace during World War II, he became the first to break the sound barrier, when he flew the Bell X-1 rocket 670 mph in level flight (October 14, 1947). He held various air force command assignments between 1954–62. He was vice-commander of the Ramstein, Germany, Air Base (1968–69), U.S. defense representative to Pakistan (1971–73), and director of aerospace safety at Norton Air Force Base in California (1973–75). His autobiography, Press On, was published in 1985. He appears as the main character in Tom Wolfe's book, The Right Stuff, and as the epitome of that virtue he appeared in numerous commercial endorsements.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.