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Encyclopedia > Eddie Rickenbacker
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
October 8, 1890 - July 27, 1973
  
Eddie Rickenbacker in his SPAD S.XIII
Nickname "Eddie", but much more fond of being called Rick.
Place of birth Columbus, Ohio
Allegiance U.S. Army
Rank Captain
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross (USA)
Legion of Honor
Croix de Guerre
Other work Indy racecar driver
Rickenbacker car company
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Eastern Air Lines

Eddie Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890July 27, 1973) was best known as a World War I fighter ace and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation. During his lifetime, Rickenbacker worked with many influential civilian and military leaders. He had keen insight into technology, and vision for future improvements. Among other events, he participated in or observed Armistice Day on the Western Front. Eddie RIckenbacker, from http://raven. ... Image File history File links Cmoh_army. ... SPAD S.XIII The SPAD S.XIII was a French biplane fighter aircraft of World War I, developed by Société Pour LAviation et ses Dérivés from the earlier highly successful SPAD S.VII. It was one of the most capable fighters of the war, and one... Nickname: The Arch City The Discovery City Location in the state of Ohio, USA Coordinates: Country United States State Ohio Counties Franklin, Delaware, and Fairfield  - Mayor Michael B. Coleman (D) Area    - City  212. ... The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... Captain is a nautical term, an organizational title, and a rank in various uniformed organizations. ... This article is becoming very long. ... The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ... The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest military decoration of the United States Army which is awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. ... Medal for the officer class, decorated with a rosette Napoleon wearing the Grand Cross The President of France is the Grand Master of the Legion. ... The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of both Belgium and France which was first created in 1915. ... Indy 500 redirects here. ... Rickenbacker was a US automobile manufactured in Detroit, Michigan from 1922 till 1927. ... Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana (a separate town completely surrounded by Indianapolis) in the United States, is the second-oldest surviving automobile racing track in the world (after the Milwaukee Mile), having existed since 1909, and the original Speedway, the first racing facility historically to incorporate the word. ... This article is about the defunct U.S. air carrier Eastern Air Lines. ... October 8 is the 281st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (282nd in leap years). ... 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar). ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... This article is becoming very long. ... Fighter has a number of meanings: A fighter aircraft is a warplane designed to destroy other warplanes in combat. ... The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, perhaps the most famous ace of all. ... The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ... Auto racing (also known as automobile racing or autosport) is a sport involving racing automobiles. ... Car redirects here. ... A consultant (from the latin consultus meaning legal expert) is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular domain or area of expertise such as accountancy, technology, the law, human resources, marketing, medicine, finance, public affairs, communication, or more esoteric areas of knowledge, for example engineering of different kinds... ... Armistice Day Celebrations in Toronto, Canada - 1918 Armistice Day is the anniversary of the official end of World War I, November 11, 1918. ... Western Front was a term used during the First and Second World Wars to describe the contested armed frontier between lands controlled by Germany to the East and the Allies to the West. ...

Contents

Early life

Edward Vernon Rickenbacher was born in Columbus, Ohio, to German-speaking Swiss immigrants. During World War I with it's anti-German atmosphere, he, like so many other German-Americans, changed his surname -- the "h" in "Rickenbacher" became a "k" in an effort to "take the Hun out of his name." As he was already well known at the time, the change received wide publicity. "From then on", as he wrote in his autobiography, "most Rickenbachers were practically forced to spell their name in the way I had..." [1] He started using the name "Vernon" as a middle name because he believed his given name "looked a little plain." He was primarily concerned with what his new middle initial would be. After settling upon "V", he selected "Vernon" as a middle initial name. [2] German (called Deutsch in German; in German the term germanisch is equivalent to English Germanic), is a member of the western group of Germanic languages and is one of the worlds major languages. ... German Americans are common in the US. Light blue indicates counties that are predominately German ancestry. ...


From childhood, Eddie Rickenbacker loved machines and experimented with them, encouraged by his father's words "A machine has to have a purpose" [3].


When Eddie Rickenbacker's father, William/Wilhelm Rickenbacher, was killed at a construction site in 1904, young Eddie chose to quit school at age 13 to support his mother and siblings. He turned to trade work, first as a night-shift glazer and then later as a worker in a steel mill.


Near-death experiences

In what was to become one of the defining characteristics of Eddie Rickenbacker's life, Rickenbacker nearly died many times, from an early run-in with a horse-drawn carriage, to a botched surgery, to airplane crashes. His first near-death experience occurred when he was in the "Horesehead Gang". He lived near a mine and they decided to ride a cart down the slope. It tipped over and almost crushed them. Ascent in the Empyrean (Hieronymous Bosch) A near-death experience (NDE) is an experience reported by a person who nearly died, or who experienced clinical death and then revived. ...


Auto racing career

Rickenbacker participated in the formative years of auto racing as a driver. Before owning and operating the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he participated in some of the first 500-mile races held there. Soon for about a year he headed and was responsible for the track and race. Eddie Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 27, 1973) was best known as a World War I fighter ace and Medal of Honor recipient. ...


Indy 500 results

Year[4] Car Start Qual Rank Finish Laps Led Retired
1912 16 13 77.300 22 21 43 0 Intake valve
1914 42 23 88.140 19 10 200 0 Running
1915 23 20 81.970 20 19 103 0 Rod
1916 5 2 96.440 2 20 9 9 Steering
Totals 355 9
Starts 4
Poles 0
Front Row 1
Wins 0
Top 5 0
Top 10 1
Retired 3

Image File history File links Circle-question-red. ... The 1912 Indianapolis 500, or Indianapolis 500-Mile International Sweepstakes, the second such race in history, was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 1912. ... Results of the 1914 Indianapolis 500 held at Indianapolis on May 30, 1914. ... Results of the 1915 Indianapolis 500 held at Indianapolis on May 30, 1915. ... Results of the 1916 Indianapolis 500 held at Indianapolis on Tuesday, May 30, 1916. ...

World War I

Eddie Rickenbacker wanted to join the Allied troops in World War I, but the U.S. had not committed. He had several chance encounters with aviators, including a fortuitous incident where he repaired a stranded aircraft for T.F. Dodd, a man who would become General "Black Jack" Pershing's aviation officer and an important contact in Rickenbacker's attempt to join air combat. This article is becoming very long. ... John Joseph Black Jack Pershing (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) was an officer in the United States Army. ...


Suspected of spying

In 1916, Rickenbacker traveled to London, with the aim of developing an English car for American races. Because of press innuendo and Rickenbacker's known Swiss heritage, he was suspected of being a spy. En route and in England, agents closely monitored his actions. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...


Eager to fight

Rickenbacker helped organize an advance group of soldiers to be ready if the United States joined the war. When, in 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, Rickenbacker had enlisted in the U.S. Army and was training in France with the very first American troops. Rickenbacker arrived in France on June 26, 1917 as sergeant first-class. The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... June 26 is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 188 days remaining. ... Year 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ...


Learning to fly and adversity

Most men chosen for pilot training had degrees from prestigious colleges,[citation needed] and Rickenbacker had to struggle to gain permission to fly because of his perceived lack of qualifications.


Because of his prodigious mechanical abilities, Rickenbacker obtained a position as engineering officer in a flight-training facility at Issoudun, where Rickenbacker practiced flying during his free time. He flew Nieuport 28 and SPAD XIII aircraft. He learned to fly well, but because his skills were badly needed at the training facility, Rickenbacker's superiors tried to prevent him from attaining his wings with the other pilots. Issoudun is a commune of the Indre département in France. ... The Nieuport 28 (N.28C-1) was a French biplane fighter aircraft flown during World War I, built by Nieuport and designed by Gustave Delage. ... A SPAD S.XIII of the Lafayette Escadrille. ...


94th Aero Squadron

Rickenbacker demonstrated that he had a qualified replacement, and the military awarded Rickenbacker a place in America's first air-combat squadron, the 94th Aero Squadron, informally known as the Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron. He flew rudimentary aircraft, sometimes without weaponry, alongside French pilots. The 94th periodically faced Germany's legendary Flying Circus, led by the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, until von Richthofen's death in combat. On April 29, 1918, Rickenbacker shot down his first plane. During WWI, Rickenbacker and the other pilots developed important aviation principles that would serve them in civil aviation and in WWII combat. The 94th Fighter Squadron is a squadron of the United States Air Force, currently part of the 1st Operations Group of the 1st Fighter Wing, and stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. ... Monty Pythons Flying Circus is a famous British comedy TV show. ... Red Baron may refer to: Manfred von Richthofen, World War I flying ace Red Baron, a popular computer game Red Baron, an arcade game by Atari. ... “Red Baron” redirects here. ... April 29 is the 119th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (120th in leap years). ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ...


Aerial victories

Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, United States Army Air Service, c.1919

Respect for him grew as his successes mounted. Rickenbacker was awarded the French Croix de Guerre in May 1918, for shooting down five German airplanes. On September 24, 1918, now a captain, he was named commander of the squadron, and on the following day, he shot down two more German planes, for which he was belatedly awarded the Medal of Honor in 1931. Rickenbacker's 26 victories constituted an American record that stood until World War II. Image File history File links EdRickenbacker2. ... Image File history File links EdRickenbacker2. ... The United States Army Air Service was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. ... The Croix de guerre is a military decoration of both Belgium and France which was first created in 1915. ... September 24 is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


The military determined ace status by counting the number of aircraft shot down by a pilot, and verifying reports with ground witnesses and the affirmations of other pilots. If no witnesses could be found, a reported kill was not counted. In 1969, the U.S. Air Force released Historical Study 133. This study converted the whole victory credits awarded into fractions, to show which credits were shared and to calculate the number of enemy aircraft actually covered by the credits. This was more in line with the criteria the Americans applied in World War II, but it did not reflect the actual credits awarded. Confusion resulted, because researchers using Historical Study 133 would sometimes add the fractions of flyers to get their aerial victory credit totals. Rickenbacker's official score of 26 still stands, which can be seen at the USAF Historical Research Agency. While the US Air Service credited "out of control" and other nonfatal victories, in terms of aircraft destroyed, Rickenbacker's tally was six airplanes and three balloons in the air, plus two balloons on the ground. (Several other Americans were credited with more enemy aircraft destroyed but fewer victories, including Frank Luke; Raoul Lufbery, who flew with the French; and Frederick Gilette and Harold Kullburg of the RAF.) Nevertheless, Rickenbacker flew a total of 300 combat hours, reportedly more than any other U.S. pilot in the war. The Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, perhaps the most famous ace of all. ... Lt. ... Major Raoul Lufbery poses next to his Nieuport fighter Gervais Raoul Lufbery (March 14, 1885 – May 19, 1918) was an French-American fighter pilot and flying ace in World War I. Because he served in both the French and later the American air services in World War I, he is...


The most successful American ace at that time, Rickenbacker was dubbed by the press as America's "Ace of Aces." He claimed his 26th and final plane on October 30, 1918, 12 days before the end of the war. He was mainly made this as one by one the Aces of Aces were shot down and killed passing the torch. Eventually, it came to him. October 30 is the 303rd day of the year (304th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 62 days remaining. ... 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ...


When Rickenbacker learned of the Armistice, he flew an airplane above the western front to observe the cease fire and the displays of joy and comradeship as the formerly warring troops crossed the front lines and joined in celebration. A white flag is traditionally used to represent a truce. ...


Personal account of war events, more fame

After World War I ended, Eddie was approached for publicity exploits. He chose to go on a Liberty bond tour. He was offered many movie positions but did not want all the attention, even though he was the most celebrated aviator in America (soon to be taken by Charles Lindbergh's flight over the Atlantic). Rickenbacker described his WWI flying experiences in his memoirs, Fighting the Flying Circus. published after the war. In this book, he also describes the character, exploits, and death of fellow pilot Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, the son of American President Theodore Roosevelt. Fighting the Flying Circus is now in the public domain, and the text is available online. [2]. A liberty bond was a special type of war bond that was sold in the United States to support the allied cause in World War I. It could be redeemed for the original value of the bond plus interest. ... Lt. ... Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, Jr. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

Bombers of WW1. ...

Famous Trial

In 1925 Rickenbacker was a defense witness-along with Hap Arnold, Tooey Spaatz, Ira Eaker and Fiorello H. LaGuardia-in the court-martial of General Billy Mitchell. Henry Harley Arnold (June 25, 1886 - January 15, 1950), often referred to by the nickname Hap, was an American pilot, commander of the US Army Air Corps from 1938, commander of the US Army Air Forces from 1941 until 1945 and the first General of the Air Force in 1949. ... Carl Spaatz Carl Andrew Tooey Spaatz (June 28, 1891 – July 14, 1974) was an American general in World War II. Carl Andrew Spatz was born on June 28, 1891, in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. ... Life Magazine, November 29, 1943. ... LaGuardia redirects here. ... Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, United States Army Air Service William L. (Billy) Mitchell (December 28, 1879 – February 19, 1936) was an American general who is regarded as the father of the U.S. Air Force. ...


Personal philosophy and family life

Rickenbacker expressed strong patriotism, beginning in childhood. Realising that his German name appeared to undermine his credibility as a fully American citizen, Rickenbacker changed the spelling of his name while in France in WWI. He had a strong Christian faith throughout his life, and urged honest dealings, both corporate and personal. Eddie Rickenbacker promoted technology and innovation and predicted many events that eventually came to pass, such as the prevalence of air transportation, and the critical role an air combat division would play in future wars. Many of his ideas that eventually occurred were met with scepticism or outright disbelief when he expressed them. ...


Rickenbacker was also adamantly opposed to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies, seeing them as little better than socialism. For this he drew criticism and ire from the press and the Roosevelt Administration, which ordered NBC Radio not to allow him to broadcast opinions critical of FDR's policies after Rickenbacker harshly denounced FDR's use of Air Force pilots to carry Air Mail; the primary reason for the denunciation was that several of the pilots died in crashes while carrying the mail. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882–April 12, 1945), often referred to as FDR, was the 32nd (1933–1945) President of the United States. ... The New Deal was the title President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to the series of programs initiated between 1933–1938 with the goal of relief, recovery and reform of the United States economy during the Great Depression. ... The 1986 Peacock logo, designed by Chermayeff & Geismar. ...


In 1922, Rickenbacker married Adelaide Frost; their marriage lasted for the rest of his life. Although they spent considerable time in Florida, Texas, and Ohio, the Rickenbackers lived chiefly in New York City. They adopted two sons: David, in 1925, and William, in 1928. Adelaide represented an unconventional wife for the era; she was five years older than her husband, had previously married, and was outspoken and active. As independent as she was, Adelaide fully supported Rickenbacker's endeavors until his death in 1973. In 1977, Adelaide committed suicide. 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1928 (MCMXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar). ...


Post-war: Business and technology

Rickenbacker automobile designs

Still interested in machines, Rickenbacker started an automobile company (see: Rickenbacker), selling technologically advanced cars based on innovations discovered in automobile racing. The Rickenbacker came equipped with the first four-wheel brake system. Probably due to the resistance to this idea propagated by other car manufacturers, who had inventory lacking four-wheel braking systems, Rickenbacker's car company was financially unsuccessful. He went into massive debt, because of company losses, and determined to pay back everything he owed. Eventually, all vehicles manufactured in the U.S. incorporated four-wheel braking. Karl Benzs Velo (vélo means bicycle in French) model (1894) - entered into the first automobile race 2005 MINI Cooper S. An automobile (also motor car or simply car) is a wheeled passenger vehicle that carries its own motor. ... Rickenbacker was a US automobile manufactured in Detroit, Michigan from 1922 till 1927. ...


Managing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

In 1927, Rickenbacker bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which he would operate for nearly a decade and a half before closing it down due to World War II. Rickenbacker oversaw many improvements of the facility, such as banking the curves to enable better and safer turning. In 1945, Rickenbacker sold the Speedway to Terre Haute, Indiana businessman Anton Hulman, Jr.. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana (a separate town completely surrounded by Indianapolis) in the United States, is the second-oldest surviving automobile racing track in the world (after the Milwaukee Mile), having existed since 1909, and the original Speedway, the first racing facility historically to incorporate the word. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Anton Tony Hulman, Jr. ...


Once the Speedway operations were under control, Rickenbacker looked for additional opportunities for entrepreneurship, including sales for the Cadillac division of General Motors and various aircraft manufacturers and airlines. Cadillac is a brand of luxury automobile, part of the General Motors corporation, produced and mostly sold in the USA; outside of North America, they have been less successful. ... General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM), also known as GM, is an American automobile maker with worldwide operations and brands including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn, Saab and Vauxhall. ...


Eastern Air Lines

Rickenbacker's most lasting business endeavor was his lifelong leadership of Eastern Air Lines. With the help of friends he had met in the war, or in car racing, or in other walks of life, Eddie Rickenbacker combined Eastern Air Transport with Florida Airways to form Eastern Air Lines, an airline that would grow from a company flying a few thousand air miles per week to a major international transportation company. This article is about the defunct U.S. air carrier Eastern Air Lines. ... This article is about the defunct U.S. air carrier Eastern Air Lines. ...


Rickenbacker oversaw many radical changes in the field of commercial aviation. He negotiated with the U.S. government to acquire air mail routes, a great advantage to companies in need of business. He helped develop and support new aircraft designs. Rickenbacker acquired historic aircraft for Eastern, including the Lockheed Constellation commissioned by Howard Hughes for Trans World Airlines (Rickenbacker, 1967, 440). Rickenbacker personally collaborated with many of the pioneers of aviation, including Donald Wills Douglas, Sr., founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company that would become McDonnell Douglas. Airmail (or air mail) is mail that is transported by aircraft. ... The Lockheed Constellation, affectionately known as the “Connie”, was a four-engine propeller-driven airliner built by Lockheed between 1943 and 1958 at its Burbank, California, USA, facility. ... For the Welsh murderer, see Howard Hughes (murderer). ... Trans World Airlines (IATA: TW, ICAO: TWA, and Callsign: TWA), commonly known as TWA, was an American airline company that was acquired by American Airlines in April 2001. ... Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. ... The Douglas Aircraft Company was founded by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. ... DC-10, retired from American Airlines fleet at gate McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. ...


He helped convince the American public to consider flying; but, always aware of the possibility of accidents, Rickenbacker avoided calling the new method of transportation "safe." In his autobiography, he wrote "I have never liked to use the word "safe" in connection with either Eastern Air Lines or the entire transportation field; I prefer the word "reliable."" (Rickenbacker, 1967, page 261).


Surviving a fatal crash

Rickenbacker often traveled for business on Eastern Airlines flights, and on February 26, 1941, a DC-3 flying Eddie Rickenbacker and other passengers crashed outside Atlanta. Rickenbacker suffered grave injuries, was soaked in fuel, and was immobile and trapped in the wreckage. In spite of his own critical wounds, Rickenbacker encouraged the uninjured passengers, offered what consolation he could to those around him who were injured or dying, and guided the still-mobile survivors to attempt to find help. They were rescued after spending the night at the crash site. Rickenbacker barely survived, and this was the first time the press announced his death while he was still alive. Eastern Air Lines Flight 21, registration NC28394, was a Douglas DC-3 aircraft that crashed while preparing to land at Candler Field in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 26, 1941. ... Douglas DC-3 VH-AES at Avalon in 2003. ... This article is about the state capital of Georgia. ...


In a dramatic retelling of the incident, Rickenbacker's autobiography relates his astonishing experiences: while still conscious but in terrible pain, Rickenbacker was left behind while ambulances transported bodies of those killed in the accident. When he arrived at a hospital, his injuries appeared so grotesque that doctors left him for dead for some time, instructing staff to "take care of the live ones." (Rickenbacker, 275) Rickenbacker's injuries included a dented skull, other head injuries, shattered left elbow and crushed nerve, paralyzed left hand, several broken ribs, a crushed hip socket, twice-broken pelvis, severed nerve in his left hip, and a broken left knee. Most shocking, his left eyeball was expelled from the socket. (Rickenbacker, 273) He recovered from these after months in the hospital, and regained full eyesight.


Rickenbacker describes the experience with vivid accounts of his mentality as he approached death, emphasizing the supreme act of will necessary to stave it off. His autobiography reported that he spent ten days on the brink of death, which he illustrated as an overwhelming sensation of calm and pleasure (Rickenbacker, 1967, 278).


Airline outcome

For a time, Eastern was the most profitable airline in the post-war era. In the late 1950s, Eastern's fortunes changed, and Rickenbacker was forced out of his CEO position on October 1, 1959. He left his position as chairman of the board December 31, 1963. October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 31 is the 365th day of the year (366th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ...


World War II

Rickenbacker supported the war effort as a civilian. In 1942, he toured training bases in the southwestern United States and in England. He encouraged the American public to contribute their time and resources to success in WWII, and pledged Eastern Airlines equipment and personnel for use in military activities.


Rickenbacker served the military extensively, inspecting troops, operations, and equipment, and serving in a publicity function to increase support from civilians and soldiers. In 1942, with a sweeping letter of authorization from Henry L. Stimson, U.S. Secretary of War, Rickenbacker visited England on an official war mission and made ground-breaking recommendations for better war operations. Henry L. Stimson Henry Lewis Stimson (September 21, 1867 – October 20, 1950) was an American statesman, who served as Secretary of War, Governor-General of the Philippines, and Secretary of State at various times. ...


Adrift at sea

One of Rickenbacker's most famous near-death experiences occurred during the service of the United States war effort. In October 1942, Rickenbacker was sent on a tour of the Pacific theater to review conditions, operations, and to personally deliver a secret message to General MacArthur. After visiting bases in Hawaii, the B-17D, 40-3089, in which he was flying went off course hundreds of miles from its first scheduled stop at Canton Island. The airplane had flown in an undetected tailwind, which carried them faster than they knew and rendered their calculations ineffective. This accident later resulted in improved navigation tools for aircraft, and improved survival gear provided on aircraft. The pilot ditched the plane in the Pacific, dangerously close to Japanese-held enemy territory. MacArthur landing at Leyte Beach in 1944. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the US Army Air Corps (USAAC). ... Kanton Island (also known as Canton Island or Abariringa Island) is largest and most northern of the Phoenix Islands, Republic of Kiribati. ... A tailwind is a wind that hits an aircraft from behind. ... Table of geography, hydrography, and navigation, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... Survival kit is a package of basic tools and supplies prepared in advance as an aid to survival in an emergency. ... For other meanings of Pacific, see Pacific (disambiguation). ...


For 24 days, Rickenbacker, his friend and business partner, and the crew drifted at sea without food or water aside from an occasional fish and rain. Rickenbacker still suffered from the airline crash, his friend Hans Adamson sustained serious injuries in the water landing, and others in the crew were hurt to varying degrees. The crew's food supply ran out after three days. On Day 8 a seagull landed on Rickenbacker's head. Rickenbacker painstakingly caught it, and the survivors meticulously divided it equally and used some for fishing bait. They lived on sporadic rain water and similar food "miracles." Rickenbacker assumed a role of leadership, encouragement, and browbeating to help the others survive, and encouraged them to turn to the Lord for solace (Psalm 46). According to Rickenbacker, each person on the rafts converted to Christianity after the experience. The U.S. Army Air Forces, unable to find them, intended to abandon the lost crew after searching unsuccessfully for more than two weeks, but Rickenbacker's wife convinced them to extend the search another week. Once again, the press reported that Rickenbacker had died. Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was a part of the U.S. Army during World War II. The direct precursor to the U.S. Air Force, the USAAF formally existed between 1941 and 1947. ...


Navy pilots rescued the surviving members of the crew, suffering from exposure, dehydration, and starvation, on November 13, 1942. One serviceman had died and was buried at sea. Rickenbacker completed his assignment and delivered MacArthur's secret message. No one ever made the message public. Look up exposure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Dehydration (hypohydration) is the removal of water (hydro in ancient Greek) from an object. ... A female child during the Nigerian-Biafran war of the late 1960s, shown suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition. ... November 13 is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 48 days remaining. ... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ...


It should be noted that Rickenbacker initially thought that he had been lost a mere 21 days, and wrote thus in a book about the experience published by Doubleday. It was not until later that he recalculated and corrected the error in his 1967 autobiography. Doubleday is one of the largest book publishing companies in the world. ...


1943: Mission to besieged USSR

Still determined to support the U.S. war effort, Rickenbacker suggested a fact-finding mission in the Soviet Union to provide the Soviets with needed technical assistance for their American aircraft. His private objective was to gain knowledge about ever-more hostile Soviet military capabilities.


Gaining permission to enter the Soviet Union

Rickenbacker approached Soviet diplomats, and avoided requesting help from President Franklin Roosevelt, alluding to personal disagreements between the two. With the help of the Secretary of War and by trading favors with the Soviet ambassador, Rickenbacker secured unlikely permission to travel to the Soviet Union. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882–April 12, 1945), often referred to as FDR, was the 32nd (1933–1945) President of the United States. ... The Secretary of War was a member of the United States Presidents Cabinet, beginning with George Washingtons administration. ...


The War Department provided everything Rickenbacker needed, including a highly unusual letter stating that the bearer was authorized to "visit ... any ... areas he may deem necessary for such purposes as he will explain to you in person," signed by the Secretary of War (Rickenbacker, 1967, 390). Line drawing of the Department of Wars seal. ...


55,000-mile side-trip around the world

Rickenbacker's trip took him over South America, where he made important observations about conditions there. He stopped in Africa, China, and India, at each stop reviewing American operations and making notes to report to authorities. In Iran, Rickenbacker offered to bring along an American officer, whose unapproved request to travel to the Soviet Union delayed Rickenbacker's party for a few days. A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ...


Soviet information gathering

In the Soviet Union, Rickenbacker observed wartime conditions, extraordinary dedication and patriotism by the populace, and ruthless denial of goods and services to unproductive members of society. He befriended many Soviet officials, and shared his knowledge of the aircraft they had received from the United States. He was lavishly entertained and recalled attempts by KGB agents and officials to intoxicate him and gain sensitive information. Rickenbacker's mission was successful. He discovered that a commander of Moscow's defense had stayed at Rickenbacker's home in 1937, and personal connections like this and the respect the Soviet military personnel had for Rickenbacker greatly improved Rickenbacker's effectiveness at information-gathering. When he left the Soviet Union, Rickenbacker understood Soviet defense strategies and capabilities, knew about brand-new strategies against advancing tank battalions, and had memorized a map of the Soviet's front line showing standard military location markers for all major units. (Rickenbacker, 1967, 422). He was also provided with unprecedented access to the Shturmovik aircraft factory. But it was comments made by Rickenbacker during his trip that alerted the Soviets to the existence of the secret B-29 Superfortress program. Note: This article is about the KGB of the USSR. KGB is also the official title of the Belarusian intelligence services. ... The Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik (Russian: ) was a ground attack aircraft of World War II, and was produced by the Soviet Union in huge numbers; in combination with its successor, the Ilyushin Il-10, a total of 36,163 were built. ... The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a four-engine heavy bomber propeller aircraft flown by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II and other military organizations afterwards. ...


Rickenbacker predicted that the Soviet Union's practices favored capitalism and that it would become a capitalist nation (Rickenbacker, 1967, 425) It has been suggested that Definitions of capitalism be merged into this article or section. ...


Reception

Winston Churchill interviewed Rickenbacker about his mission. In the U.S., Rickenbacker's information resulted in some diplomatic and military action, but President Roosevelt ignored the information and did not meet with Rickenbacker about his groundbreaking visit to the U.S.S.R. (Rickenbacker, 1967, 438). Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an English statesman, soldier,and author. ... FDR redirects here. ...


Post-World War II

In the 1960s, Rickenbacker became a well-known speaker. He shared his vision for the future of technology and commerce, exhorted Americans to respect the enemy (the Soviet Union) during the Cold War, yet uphold American values, and endorsed conservative ideals. The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...


After retiring from Eastern Air Lines, Adelaide and Eddie Rickenbacker traveled extensively, until Eddie Rickenbacker had a stroke while in Switzerland seeking medical treatment for Adelaide there. He died in 1973 in Zürich, Switzerland, and his body was buried in Columbus, Ohio, at Green Lawn Cemetery. 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ... View of the inner city with the four main churches visible, and the Albis in the backdrop Zürich (German: , Zürich German: Züri , French: , in English generally Zurich, Italian: ) is the largest city in Switzerland (population: 366,145 in 2004; population of urban area: 1,091,732) and... Nickname: The Arch City The Discovery City Location in the state of Ohio, USA Coordinates: Country United States State Ohio Counties Franklin, Delaware, and Fairfield  - Mayor Michael B. Coleman (D) Area    - City  212. ... Green Lawn Cemetery East Entrance Green Lawn Cemetery is a large and historically significant burial ground in Central Ohio. ...


In 1974, the Lockbourne Air Force Base in his home town of Columbus was renamed Rickenbacker Air Force Base. 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Rickenbacker International Airport (airport code: LCK) is located in Columbus, Ohio. ...


For over twenty years there has been a casual restaurant chain honoring Rickenbacker's squadron, the 94th Aero Squadron. Generally located near airports, locations look like French farmhouses with World War I airplanes and sandbagged gun emplacements around it. On the inside it is filled with military aviation memorabilia. Customers can put on headphones and listen in to the pilots conversing with the flight controllers.


Non-military awards

Eddie Rickenbacker's military awards, badges, and insignia on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum
Eddie Rickenbacker's military awards, badges, and insignia on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1280x1024, 304 KB) Eddie Rickenbackers medals on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1280x1024, 304 KB) Eddie Rickenbackers medals on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum. ... A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. ... First World War Aviator Badge WWI Senior Aviator Badge Enlisted Aviator Badge A United States Aviator Badge refers to three types of aviation badges issued by the United States military, those being for Army, Air Force, and Naval aviation. ... ... San Diego Aerospace Museum is an aviation and space exploration museum in San Diego, California. ... The International Motorsports Hall of Fame is a Hall of Fame dedicated to enshrining those who have contributed the most to auto racing either as a driver, owner, developer or engineer. ... The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum is a museum for sprint car drivers. ... The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is a Hall of Fame and museum in Novi, Michigan for American motorsports legends. ...

Trivia

Adolph Rickenbacher (b. ... Steve Howe playing a Rickenbacker guitar with the progressive rock band Yes in 1977 Rickenbacker is one of the oldest brand names in the manufacture of electric guitars. ... System Shock 2 (commonly abbreviated SS2) is a science fiction horror-themed first-person shooter which incorporates a number of elements commonly seen in computer role-playing games. ... This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... Lil Abner was a comic strip in United States newspapers, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the town of Dogpatch. ... I do Lil Abner!!, a self-portrait by Al Capp, excerpted from the April 16-17 1951 Lil Abner strips. ... Look up pilot in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

References

  1. ^ Rickenbacker, Edward. Rickenbacker - An Autobiography. Prentice-Hall, 115. 
  2. ^ Rickenbacker, Edward. Rickenbacker - An Autobiography. Prentice-Hall, 66. 
  3. ^ Rickenbacker, Edward. Rickenbacker - An Autobiography. Prentice-Hall, 28. 
  4. ^ Eddie Rickenbacker Indy 500 Race Stats [1]

Other References

  • Fighting The Flying Circus (Wings of War) (1919)
  • Rickenbacker, Captain Edward V., Seven Came Through, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1943.
  • Adamson, Hans Christian, Eddie Rickenbacker, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1946.
  • Adelaide Frost Rickenbacker
  • Rickenbacker, Edward V., Rickenbacker: an Autobiography, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1967.
  • Serling, Robert J., The Captain to the Colonel; An Informal History of Eastern Airlines, The Dial Press, New York, 1980.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Eddie Rickenbacker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3039 words)
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was born Edward Rickenbacher in Columbus, Ohio to German-speaking Swiss immigrants.
Eddie Rickenbacker promoted technology and innovation and predicted many events that eventually came to pass, such as the prevalence of air transportation, and the critical role an air combat division would play in future wars.
Rickenbacker suffered grave injuries, was soaked in fuel, and was immobile and trapped in the wreckage.
Rickenbacker (3575 words)
Eddie Rickenbacker was a warrior in two wars, becoming the American Ace of Aces in 1918 and demonstrating rare leadership and courage in World War II.
Rickenbacker responded by becoming a juvenile delinquent--a small-time petty thief and bully who was so quick with his fists that his impoverished parents feared he would wind up in reform school.
Rickenbacker familiarized himself with the Spad during a lull in the fighting in July and August and was able to take a significant role during the September Battle of St. Mihiel.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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