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General Chuck Yeager
Charles E. Yeager was born on February 13, 1923 in Myra, West Virginia and raised the nearby village of Hamlin for the first eighteen years of his life. His father drilled natural gas, and his mother was a housewife. At an early age, Chuck helped his father drill, and learned mechanics from his father. Chuck was always fixing the car engines or the drill engine if it broke. In high school Chuck played basketball and baseball, although he never really excelled in either. He also was not that smart in school. He said the only thing that he was good at was typing and math, everything else, he got a D in.
After high school, Chuck, being poorly educated and destitute decided to join the U.S. Army Air Corps. The funny thing about that is that Chuck never even saw an airplane on the ground until he was 16 years old, when it had an emergency and landed in a cornfield, and Chuck was not even impressed with it. He said the reason that he joined the Air Corps is because the recruiter made the Air Corps sound more interesting that the Navy recruiter. Anyway, Chuck joined the Air Corps as a mechanic. After a year of being a mechanic, the Untied States was short pilots, so they put up a notice to see if anyone wanted to become a pilot. Chuck signed the form; however, it took another year for them to pick him. It was always hard for Chuck to fit in among the other pilots and mechanics. Because he was from West Virginia, he had a strong accent, and a poor education, so he was never given a chance at first. Then, when he first went in a plane, he almost quit the pilot school because there was turbulence and he was bumping all over the place. On the other hand, once he flew a plane by himself he was hooked. He excelled in pilot school because he had excellent vision, 20/10, and learned how to dogfight, that is getting in position to shoot down another plane and avoiding getting shot down yourself.
He left for the War in 1942. He was disappointed at first because after 6 missions, they hadnít seen one German. Yet, on his 7th mission the Americans encountered German planes while escorting a bomber. Yeager killed one and returned safely. Unluckily for Yeager, on his next mission in 1943, his plane gto shot down over enemy territory and he had to jump out (there were no ejection seats in those days).
For the next 3 weeks it was hell. After he jumped, all he had were 2 stale candy bars and a bottle of water. He saw a French woodcutter and jumped him for his axe. However, instead of getting mad, he got help for Chuck. Within a couple of hours, Chuck had the help of the French Maquis, a French resistance group. They led to the Pyrenees Mountains with one other shot down pilot, where they told them that they were on their own. They hike the mountains for days, thinking they go nowhere. One day, they found a cabin and rested. The other pilot put his socks over bushes to dry. A German patrol did not even bother to look in the cabin, but just shot. The other pilot got his leg totally blown off. Chuck decided to carry him for three days before they finally got into neutral Spain. There, Chuck spent another 3 weeks in a luxury hotel, paid for by the army, while the government negotiated for his release. When he finally got back he received bad news. He was not going to be able to go back because if he got shot down again the Germans would torture them to find out where the Maquis were. He appealed to General Dwight Eisenhower and Eisenhower let him stay in. From there, Yeagerís career took off. He went back in the Corps and after a couple of missions we was back to dogfig
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