Air Force

November 1, 2013

This week in history

1918: America’s Ace of Aces makes final kill

Eddie_Rickenbacker
Capt. Edward Rickenbacker, America’s Ace of Aces, claimed his final kill 95 years this week. Like Frank Luke, he was also born to German-speaking immigrant parents. But, Rickenbacker’s rise to fame was much different than the Arizona Balloon Buster.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Rickenbacker was 13 when his father died. He immediately began working to support his mother. When he went to work for an automobile company, he found he had a talent and a passion for mechanics.

While working as a car salesman, he began racing cars and worked his way up to running in the Indianapolis 500-mile race four times prior to World War I. At that time, the racecars were unreliable. Approximately half of the cars in the 500-mile race failed to finish due primarily to mechanical problems. Rickenbacker was no different, and only completed the race once in tenth place.

When World War I began, there was a lot of anti-German sentiment in the United States. Everyone handled it differently. Already famous, Eddie anglicized his last name to Rickenbacker. When the U.S. declared war in 1917, he enlisted in the Army. He arrived in France on June 26, 1917, as a sergeant first class.

Recognized for his mechanical knowledge, he let it be known that he wanted to fly. At the time, most of the American fliers had some college. Therefore, when the Army promoted him to second lieutenant, it posted him as the engineering officer at the pursuit training facility in France. There he learned to fly and practiced during his free time.

In March 1918, the Army posted him to the 1st Pursuit Group, 94th Aero Squadron, which became known as the “Hat in the Ring” squadron.

Like the racecars of the day, the mass produced aircraft could be unreliable. Used to fine tuning racecars, Rickenbacker took the same care with his aircraft, machine guns, flight maneuvers and tactics. Unlike some of the other fliers, he was not reckless; instead he hunted his prey, letting some go if the circumstances were not quite right.

Rickenbacker scored his first kill on April 29, 1918. A month and a day later, he was an ace.

Unfortunately he got an ear infection and was grounded for several weeks. His next kill came on Sept. 14 of that year, a couple of days after Frank Luke’s first.

He became the commander of the 94th AS Sept. 25, by then a captain, and later in the day dove on six enemy aircraft, shooting down two of them. Twelve years later, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his exploits on that day.

Rickenbacker shot down his last aircraft Oct. 30, which was credited as his 26th kill. As such, he was the leading ace in the American expeditionary force and became known as the Ace of Aces. He was America’s leading ace for the next 25 years.

Rickenbacker passed away July 23, 1973, while travelling in Switzerland. Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle gave the eulogy at his funeral. The Ace of Aces was buried in Columbus, Ohio.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-1-Standalone---140411-F-HT977-026

Weather: Exercise component

First responders prepare to transport a simulated injured patient during an extreme weather exercise April 11 at Luke Air Force Base. The exercise was designed to train and evaluate Luke Airmen on readiness and preparation for ...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2014

Change of command Lt. Col. Jon Wheeler relinquishes command of the 310th Fighter Squadron to Lt. Col. Matthew Warner at 8:31 a.m. today in Hangar 913. Days of Remembrance The 2014 Days of Remembrance of the Holocaust Victims is May 2 at Club Five Six. A Holocaust exhibit of masks of holocaust survivors and paintings...
 
 

AFSA speaks for Airmen

The Enlisted Force Structure states it’s an Airman’s responsibility to join a professional organization. For Airmen looking for an organization to join, the Air Force Sergeants Association may be right for some. AFSA’s purpose is to represent the professional and personal interests of active-duty personnel, retired veterans and their families. “The AFSA is a professional...
 

 

Air Force News – April 18, 2014

Nevada Athletes with bikes of all shapes and sizes competed April 9 at the Air Force Warrior Games trials at Nellis Air Force Base. The competitive injured and wounded Airmen and Soldiers raced in seven heats stretching six to 18 miles depending on the bike frame. Virginia An 18-year-old Air Force dependent from Joint Base...
 
 

People First – April 18, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story. Airmen: Our...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Airman leaves AF to pursue college B-ball career

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Patrick Paul, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron, shoots a jump shot during a game against the 56th Security Forces Squadron at the Bryant Fitness Center. Paul is finishing out his Air Force commitme...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin