Meeting a true hero
Chuck Yeager was a personal hero of mine growing up and a big reason as to why I later joined the U.S Air Force and served my country for 20 years.
I learned about him in school here in Elkins and how he was from West Virginia. I could not believe he was such a great person and that he was from West Virginia. He started out as a mechanic in the service and later became a test pilot where he achieved his fame, breaking the sound barrier and being a World War II ace and war hero.
Later when I had joined the Air Force and I always was reading things about him and watching anything on TV about him, I wanted to maybe some day meet him and talk with him about home here in West Virginia. Well, lo and behold, I got my chance in 1987 when I was stationed overseas.
He came to my base on a visit and I was a crew chief on an F-15 fighter aircraft there on base. He came out to the flight line and was to take a ride in one of our aircrafts so my supervisor knew I was from West Virginia and came and asked me if I would be his crew chief for the day and get to meet him and launch him out in our aircraft. Well, needless to say I was thrilled beyond belief and immediately began to get the aircraft ready.
He came out to the aircraft early to meet me and some of the other crew chiefs and talk. When he found out I was from Elkins, he sat down with me and we talked for at least 20 minutes about fishing and hunting around Elkins.
When he returned from the flight, he gave me his name badge and we talked some more about growing up in West Virginia. Chuck Yeager is and was a wonderful human being and I will miss him greatly, but I cherish the time I had talking with him that day.