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Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (1923- )

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Chuck Yeager

Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (1923- ) became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947, flying the experimental Bell X-1. He also became the first person to fly more than twice the speed of sound, flying the Bell X-1A on December 12, 1953. Yeager was born at Myra in Lincoln County and later moved to West Hamlin. He graduated from Hamlin High School in 1941. In a 1991 interview, Yeager said:

I was born in Myra, West Virginia, which was actually just a post office on Mud River, very near Hamlin, West Virginia. My first recollection was when we moved to Hamlin when I was about four or five years old. And that's where I spent my life until I was eighteen years old. It was a rural town, population of about six hundred. It's in the middle of the hills. Primarily agriculture, timber, coal mines, and some natural gas; my father was a natural gas driller. I attended grade school and I did very well in the first grade, skipped second grade and went to the third grade. And by the time I got to the fifth grade, I spent two years there. It got kind of tough. And then, grade school was just nine months out of the year that I enjoyed either running the hills or fishing, and things like that. In high school, things got a little more serious as far as my education was concerned. And also there were sports -- football and basketball -- I played both. And I also played trombone in the high school band and chased gals, so I was a pretty busy kid. The subjects that I liked very much in school were mathematics, algebra and typing. I could type 60 words a minute easily. Anything that took hand-eye coordination I had a good time at it. History and English literature, my teachers had trouble passing me.

Famous People From West Virginia


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