Test Pilot & Record-Setter
Born: August 9, 1920 in Fairmont, West Virginia
Death: October 1, 2004
Flew 94 combat missions during World War II in Africa, Sicily and Italy.
Commanded the 17th Fighter Squadron of the 5th Fighter Group in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II where he completed 67 combat missions and destroyed four Japanese aircraft before his plane was shot down by ground fire in May 1945.
Interned as a Japanese POW from May 1945 to the end of World War II.
In 1951, he became chief Air Force test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base where he tested the X-1, X-2, X-4, X-5, XF-92 and X-52. He also participated in testing the X-100, X-102, X-104, X-105, B-52, B-57 and B-66.
In August 1951 he established an unofficial world altitude record of 73,000 feet in the X-1.
On October 29, 1953, established a world’s speed record of 755.149 mph in a XF-100.
Test flew the X-1B to a speed of Mach 2.3 in December, 1954 and then the Bell X-2 rocket plane at 1,957 mph (Mach 2.9) making him the “fastest man alive” at the time.
Won the Harmon Trophy and Octave Chanute Trophy in 1957.
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