WASHINGTON, D.C. — Famed pilot, West Virginia native Chuck Yeager, died three years ago Thursday and on the anniversary of his death members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation asked the U.S. Postmaster General to issue a commemorative stamp honoring Yeager’s life.
Eligibility for a stamp can only come three years after a person’s death.
U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. Representatives Alex Mooney and Carol Miller along with Rep. Doug LaMalfa have their names on the letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
“Chuck Yeager is an American hero and a legendary figure in the history of aviation, and it is our strong belief that his historic accomplishments in service to our nation merit celebration and recognition on a commemorative stamp,” the letter said. “Over the course of his distinguished career, Chuck fought for his country in two wars, accumulated a total of 10,131.6 flight hours in 361 different types and models of military aircraft, and was the first commander of the Aerospace Research Pilot School, where he mentored a new generation of American aviators.”
After graduating from Hamlin High School in 1941, Yeager enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Air Forces and became an aircraft mechanic. His unusually keen vision and the United States’ entry into World War II provided his entry to flight training.
While stationed in England, Yeager flew P-51 mustangs but was shot down over France on his eighth mission. He escaped and returned to the air. On Oct. 12, 1944, Yeager downed five enemy aircraft in a single mission and finished the war credited with shooting down at least 12 German planes.
In all, Yeager flew 64 combat missions.
After the war, Yeager remained in the military and became a test pilot at Muroc Army Air Field, now called Edwards Air Force Base. He was selected to fly a rocket-powered Bell XS-1 to research high-speed flight.
Two days before the scheduled flight, Yeager fell from a horse and broke two ribs. Worried about having the flight canceled, Yeager had his ribs taped by a civilian doctor and went ahead with the mission.
He broke the sound barrier on Oct. 14, 1947, flying the X-1 Glamorous Glennis at 700 miles an hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 45,000 feet.