Yeager’s wife, Victoria, confirmed the death on the pilot’s official Twitter page on Monday, noting that the groundbreaking flyer died just before 9 p.m. ET.
“An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever,” Victoria Yeager tweeted from her husband’s profile.
Born on February 13, 1923, in West Virginia, Yeager enlisted as a private for the U.S. Army Air Force in 1941 and started his military experience as an aircraft mechanic. Less than three months after enlisting, Yeager was accepted for flight training and became a certified pilot in 1943.
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Yeager remained with the U.S. Armed Forces after the war and became a test pilot at the Muroc Army Air Field in Southern California (now Edwards Air Force Base). On October 14, 1947, Yeager flew the experimental Bell X-1 aircraft and became the first person to break the sound barrier, which brought him honors including the Harmon International Trophy.
While his accomplishment solidified him in the world of aeronautics and aircrafts, Yeager’s historical feat made him an inspiration for a number of Hollywood projects, most notably The Right Stuff.
Kaufman’s 1983 film followed Navy, Marine and Air Force test pilots who were selected to to be astronauts for NASA’s Project Mercury, the United States’ first human spaceflight. Sam Shepard starred as Yeager, while the pilot himself appeared in a cameo role.
The Right Stuff, also starring Fred Ward, Dennis Quaid, Ed Harris and Scott Glenn, went on to win four Oscar Awards in 1984. Shepard nabbed a Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of Yeager.
The WWII vet, who also commanded fighter squadrons during the Vietnam War, appeared in a number of small acting roles including Goodyear Playhouse, Smokey and the Bandit II and Flying Without Fear.
He is survived by their four children and his wife, Victoria. Yeager’s first wife of 45 years, Glennis Dickhouse, died in 1990.
Fr @VictoriaYeage11 It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET. An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever.
— Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) December 8, 2020
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