Today, our Nation mourns the loss of a true pioneer. General Charles “Chuck” Yeager served in the Army Air Corps and the United States Air Force for more than 30 years, piloting countless aerial victories in World War II and commanding Airmen during the wars in Korea and Vietnam. He was one of the greatest pilots in history, a proud West Virginian, and an American original who relentlessly pushed the boundaries of human achievement.
On October 14, 1947, while piloting a Bell X-1, then Captain Yeager reached speeds greater than those ever achieved before in human history. Over the Mojave Desert, in a jet named “Glamorous Glennis” after his beloved wife, Captain Yeager flew at speeds in excess of 660 miles per hour. The flight, and the Yeager name, would land in the history books as the first to break the sound barrier—beating the Soviet Union to the punch. No matter what he piloted or where he launched from, General Yeager’s life proved that he not only had the “right stuff,” but that the limits of human possibility are no match for the spirit of American patriots.
The First Lady and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Yeager family during this difficult time and hope they find comfort in the immeasurable influence General Yeager had upon our country and the world. Because of Chuck, Americans will always look up to the sky and know anything is possible.