There is no manual on thriving after you’ve served in the military. Veterans go through a life-changing experience while doing, along with various education and training benefits for which they can sign up. These benefits may lead to almost anything, especially with the courage and commitment instilled in vets during their service.
The Most Famous Air Force Veterans
The famous air force veterans may technically be the youngest branch of the five services at 72 years old. This is just a fraction of the Army’s age, although the service roots are well over a hundred years old.
Take a look at the 6 most famous air force veterans who became legends for their service:
- Eddie Rickenbacker
At number 1 at the top 6 famous air force veterans: Rickenbacker is a race car driver that turned into a self-taught pilot. He joined the military immediately after the United States had entered World War I. Within less than a year, Rickenbacker earned a promotion to an officer’s rank and shot down his first enemy aircraft, making him the title of “Ace.” After a year, he became in command of the Aero Squadron.
By the November 11, 1918 armistice, Rickenbacker had racked up 26 aerial victories, a record he held up until World War II. He had used to charge right at enemy flying squads, no matter the odds, and win every time. Rickenbacker was awarded the Croix de Guerre with two palms, the Distinguished Service Cross with six oak leaf clusters, the French Legion d’Honneur, and a Medal of Honor.
- Billy Mitchell
At number 2 at the top 6 famous air force veterans: The “Father of the Air Force,” General William “Billy” Mitchell, was a turn-of-the-20th-century pilot. Mitchell argued that airpower would be a revolution in modern warfare, although he was dismissed as radical. Mitchell then became an Army aviator when he had already been considered “too old” to go through training to become a pilot. He paid for lessons and had led more than 1,400 planes against the Germans during the World War I Battle of St. Mihiel.
His experience in flying planes in combat led to his idea of a separate Air Force, even demonstrating the power that airplanes had against naval battleships. He was sensationally court-martialed when he criticized the War Department for incompetence and negligence. He decided to resign his commission instead of accepting a sentence that would be humiliating.
- Henry “Hap” Arnold
At number 3 at the top 6 famous air force veterans: Hap had been a protégé of Gen. Billy Mitchell. He is probably the only airman mentioned who needed to overcome a fear of flying to reach his legendary Air Force Status. Arnold was responsible for overseeing the expansion of the Army Air Corps. Which happened in the years between World War I and World War II.
Arnold oversaw the development of intercontinental bombers, radar, airlift capabilities, and nuclear weapons in modern air combat. His job during wartime had been so stressful that he experienced three heart attacks within three years. He survived them all to become a five-star general of the Army, which had later been changed to general of the Air Force. After the Air Force became independent in 1947. He remains the only person who ever held the rank and title.
- Daniel “Chappie” James Jr.
At number 4 at the top 6 famous air force veterans: Although General Chappie did not see any combat until the Korean War, he was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, training pilots within the Army Air Corps’ 99th Pursuit Squadron known as the famous Red Tails. While in Korea, he flew 101 combat missions and another 78 missions as the vice commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing in the Vietnam War. During the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, he had served under= Col. Robin Olds, including during Operation Bolo, the highest MiG sweep ever conducted. The duo had been nicknamed “Blackman and Robin” by their men due to their success.
He had stared down Muammar Gaddafi in a stand-off during his command of the U.S. Air Force Base in Libya. He later admitted that he almost shot the dictator with his .45. Chappie had become the first African-American to reach the rank of four-star general and the third person of African descent to have gone to the highest positions in the Western world.
- Robin Olds
At number 5 at the top 6 famous air force veterans: Olds had joined the military through the U.S. military academy at West Point. He was an all-star linebacker for the football team who was anxious to get into the fight in World War II Europe. The legacy that was carried was larger than life. He had been a triple-ace fighter pilot with 16 kills in World War II. He also married Hollywood actress Ella Raines.
He stayed within the Air Force when it became independent from the U.S Army. Later he commanded a fighter wing during the Vietnam War. Today, he is remembered by the Air Force during “Mustache March” because of the distinctive mustache he wore in Vietnam, which started as a way to boost the morale amongst his men and thumb his nose at the media.
- Curtis LeMay
At number 6 at the top 6 famous air force veterans: He was the youngest four-star general to date in American military history. LeMay served with four stars longer than anyone has ever done. This is a big deal for a general who never went to a service academy. He had earned the nickname “Iron Ass” for his stubbornness and shortness once he made up his mind.
History does not always remember him fondly, as seen through the silver-screen depiction of him as Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Stanley Kubrick’s well-known “Dr. Strangelove,” although LeMay led the U.S. military through some difficult times.
The leadership presented by LeMay had revolutionized the tactics of the 8th Air Force in World War II Europe, giving the Allies the decisive edge over the Nazi Luftwaffe. The Japanese war effort had been crippled by LeMay’s strategic planning in the Pacific Theater. He was the one to see the U.S. through the Berlin Airlift and Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Soviet Union would never have chosen to go to war with a Famous Air force Veterans who said threatening comments about acts of violence against Russians.
Famous Air force Veterans in a Nutshell!
The Air Force war heroes left a lasting impression on the Air Force as it is known today. Their tactical skills and determination led the U.S. through some of the most well-known wars in history. Today, not many can live up to the examples that they have set. They are still well celebrated amongst many heroes of war today.