Assigned to the Eighth Air Force during World War II where he flew 64 combat missions and scored 12.5 aerial victories. On his eighth combat mission, he was shot down over occupied territory but evaded capture with the help of the French resistance.
Became the first to attain supersonic flight on October 14, 1947 when he flew the Bell XS-1 (named Glamorous Glennis) past the sound barrier. He was awarded both the Collier and Mackay trophies for this feat in 1947.
Instructed Jackie Cochran (enshrined 1971) in a T-38 and a Canadaire F-86 Sabrejet where she broke all but one of the world’s major speed records and became the first woman to break the sound barrier.
Became the first to exceed twice the speed of sound (1650 mph) on December 12, 1953, flying the Bell X-1A.
Took command of the 405th Fighter Wing in the Philippines in 1966 where he flew 126 missions over Vietnam. Two years later, he led the Fourth Tactical Fighter Wing to Korea, during the “Pueblo Crisis,” and later received the Korea National Security Merit Award.
Commanded Air Force Aerospace Research Pilots School, training nearly half of the astronauts in the Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo space programs.
Broke the sound barrier one more time on October 14th, 1997 at age 74 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his historic flight.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame is excited to announce its Annual Membership Meeting scheduled for November 30, 2023, from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM. Members are invited to join this significant gathering, where key updates and future plans will be discussed. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with fellow aviation aficionados and learn more about the hall’s endeavors for the upcoming year.