Chuck Yeager, a great American hero, died this week at age 97. He resided in Grass Valley, California.
Yeager is best known for being the first person to break the sound barrier. He was a major character in Tom Wolfe’s 1979 classic, The Right Stuff. Indeed, Wolfe devoted a whole chapter to the man. If you think the 1983 movie of the same name was good but haven’t read the book, you have a treat in store for you. The first few pages of the chapter on Yeager are informative – and hilarious. I enjoyed the book so much that I’ve read it twice.
I’ve been a fan of Yeager for a long time. But what does this have to do with Antiwar.com? Here’s what. I’m even more of a fan because of what I read on Wikipedia about his clear thinking on war crimes.
Here’s the crucial segment:
In his 1986 memoirs, Yeager recalled with disgust that “atrocities were committed by both sides”, and said he went on a mission with orders from the Eighth Air Force to “strafe anything that moved.” During the mission briefing, he whispered to Major Donald H. Bochkay, “If we are going to do things like this, we sure as hell better make sure we are on the winning side.” Yeager said, “I’m certainly not proud of that particular strafing mission against civilians. But it is there, on the record and in my memory.”