ABILENE TEXAS (KTAB/KRBC)- December 7th 1941, Japan mounts an attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. This tragic loss of life brought our nation into World War II and ignited a flame in the heart of Private Charles Ellwood Yeager. Who would later become the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound.
Though he was only a private when the attack happened he enlisted in flight training as soon as he could. Yeager earned over 20 decorations and more than 11 awards for distinguished service and valor in combat. It was on his eighth mission during the war that he and his Co-Pilot were shot down in enemy territory. According to Dr. Norm Dozier of Abilene, one of Yeager’s long time friends, Yeager helped his Co-Pilot cross through the Pyrenees Mountains into the neutral land of Spain.
After the war Yeager remained in the Air force as a Test pilot, eventually volunteering to be the pilot of the Bell X-1 in an attempt to travel faster than the speed of sound. Yeager would achieve this goal in 1947.though this was arguably his largest achievement Yeager would continue to set records and earn awards both in and out of the military until his death in 2020.
In 1990 Yeager came to Abilene Texas to participate in the first Abilene disability resources Inc. Celebrity quail hunt. He would continue to be a part of this for the next 25 years. Charitable acts like this as well as speeches to the youth of the nation marked Yeagers last few decades, passing on his passion for flight and country to the next several generations.