FACTOID # 21: 15% of Army recruits from South Dakota are Native American, which is roughly the same percentage for female Army recruits in the state.
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Encyclopedia > Iven C. Kincheloe Award

Iven C. Kincheloe Jr. (July 2, 1928July 26, 1958) was a distinguished American pilot, serving in the Korean War and as a test pilot.

Kincheloe was born in Detroit, Michigan and was interested in aircraft from a very young age. He attended Purdue University, where he majored in aeronautical engineering and joined the ROTC. In the summer of 1948, the ROTC cadet was able to meet Chuck Yeager and sit in the cockpit of the Bell X-1. After graduating in 1949, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He spent a year as a test pilot flying the F-86E at Edwards Air Force Base before being transferred to Korea in September, 1951. During the war, he flew F-80s on 30 missions and F-86s on 101 missions downing five MiG-15s before returning to the states in May, 1952.

After the war, he again became a test pilot, participating in the testing of F-100 Super Sabre, the F-101 VooDoo, the F-102 Delta Dagger, the F-104 Starfighter, the F-105 Thunderchief, and the F-106 Delta Dart. In the mid-1950s, Kinechloe joined the Bell X-2 program and on September 7, 1956, flew at more than 2,000 mph and to a height of 126,200 feet, the first flight ever above 100,000 feet. For this he was nicknamed "America's No. 1 Spaceman". The X-2 program was halted after the death of Mel Apt three weeks later when he became the first person to exceed Mach 3. Three years later, Kinechloe was selected as one of the first three pilots in the next rocket-powered aircraft program, the X-15. He was killed in the crash of an F-104A at Edwards AFB.

In September, 1959, Kincheloe AFB in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was renamed in his honor.

The Iven C. Kincheloe Award is named in his honor.


  • Korean War Aces (http://www.acepilots.com/korea/kincheloe.html)
  • USAF Museum (http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/korea/kc14.htm)
  • Iven C. Kincheloe, Jr. (http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/afp/kinch.htm)



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