Chuck Yeager Chimp Story

March 20th, 2015

It was pretty funny. They used to do testing on chimpanzees at Edwards AFB before the astronauts.

They were testing G’s and braking.

They’d give the chimp a banana to entice them to get on a sled.

Then they sent the sled down the tracks very very fast. Then it would come to a sudden stop.

The chimp’s arms and legs would fly out, they’d lose the banana and basically freak out.

The next time those guys went in to the room where the chimps were kept, the chimps would throw…ahem….everything including excrement at them…

The tracks are still there.



Chuck Yeager – ism

February 9th, 2015

Most pilots learn, when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don’t do, you don’t believe anything anybody tells you about an airplane.

Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager – ism

February 8th, 2015

What good does it do to be afraid? It doesn’t help anything. You better try and figure out what’s happening and correct it.

Chuck Yeager

July 4th as a Kid – Chuck Yeager

January 11th, 2015

July 4th the town of Hamlin, WV would have a fair. My whole family would go together.

I remember the greasy pole. They’d grease up a pole and see who could climb the highest. Only boys allowed to try.

We’d all bring picnics. And since Mom was a good cook, we made out well.

Great clean fun.

No liquor allowed.


WWII: March 5, 1944 -Unteroffizier Irmfred Klotz Shot me Down – Chuck Yeager

January 11th, 2015
The generally accepted research shows that 22 year old Unteroffizier Irmfred Klotz flying a Focke Wulf 190 shot my airplane down on March 5, 1944. I was 21, thinking I was Sierra Hotel just the day before, now this guy is thinking he’s Sierra Hotel. The day after I shot down his first two enemy aircraft, although I only got credit for one even though I had wingman confirmation for both.
We were flying to Bordeaux to bomb the port there. The weather was stinkin’ so we turned inland for targets of opportunity. We had just turned. I was tail end Charlie. Obie O’Brien was flight leader. We used to tease him that he couldn’t see two feet in front of his plane.
And true to form, I checked six (often) and saw the Focke Wulfs first. I called a break and now I was the lead. I did a head on pass with three of them but Klotz got the credit.
Me and my airplane parted company. Victoria, after her first time sitting in the P-51 cockpit and having a heck of a time getting out, asked me how I was able to get out of that cockpit to escape. I told her I didn’t have to, it was falling apart in pieces around me.
At the US National Archives I saw William “Obee” O’Brien’s encounter report taking credit for shooting down Klotz’s Focke Wulf 190. According to the 357th historian, Merle Ohmsted, this was confirmed in a letter to Obie O’Brien in 1996 by a gentleman from Europe. Unfortunately, research has not yet produced confirmation of this in a German-language document.
Obie said it looked like Klotz was making a second pass to kill me in my parachute, so Obie shot him down. His parachute failed to open. And I got to float down to the French woods.
Ain’t a German in the world can catch a West Virginian in the woods.
After being shot down by Obie, Klotz bailed out but was killed when his parachute failed to open. His Focke Wulf crashed near the site where I landed in France.
Victoria and I visited the site in 2012; a beautiful field on a beautiful sunny day. All traces of the war: the pieces of the plane, have since disappeared.
Nearby, is the home of a man, who as a young man, played soccer and fished with me to while away the hours till I could be moved. His parents risked their necks to help many young men and women especially after their older son, in the French Underground, never returned.
A very brave lot, the French Underground and the Maquis.

Matchmaker Yeager – 1957

January 6th, 2015

Got a letter this Christmas from a woman born in England. It read:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. “In April 1957, Airman 1st Class was standing on duty on a flight line in Toul-Rosieres, France, when you (General Yeager) flew in. A1C stopped you as he you walked by. You so kindly listened to him as he told you his problem.

“A1C submitted paper work to marry on English girl, in November 1956. It was turned down.

“You told A1C to meet you in your office the next morning.

“Thank you, you gave your permission for us to marry. I am the English girl, (now an American). We were married May 4, 1957 in England about 58 years ago.

“We have 3 children, 8 grandchildren, and our 10th great-grandchild will be born March 2015.

“So from us all, we say, “Thank you, Sir!”

“Without your help, it may never have been.”

Wonder if they named any of their brood Charles or Yeager? :-)



High Sierras with the General – 1st time a Woman got to go

December 18th, 2014

Tuesday. Shopping from list for Chuck Yeager’s trip to the High Sierras fishing golden trout.

Wednesday: Two people cancel. General Yeager looks at me and says: Would you like to go?


I ran out to buy boots. Yes, kinda silly – we’d be hiking miles and miles up and down mountains in four days. No time to break them in. Or to break me in.

The extent of my camping experience prior to this was the weekend before 8th grade, our first year in Upper School. Two nights. The headmistress or someone had the bright idea we should all go on an Outward Bound weekend. My group had the heaviest teacher there was and one of our tasks was to get the whole group over the wall. Even using all of the girls we could not lift him and none of us were going to have him walk on our backs so we told the guides: No. Otherwise I enjoyed it. The others wondered why my face wasn’t as dirty as theirs. I wondered how they got so dirty.

I tried every boot within a 50 mile radius. The best fitting ones were the cheapest. The tread wasn’t great but…

On Thursday, we packed our packs and sleeping bags and one overnight bag for Friday night – which we would spend in the local motel.

On Friday, we picked up GCY’s brother, Hal at the Reno airport and set out for Lone Pine, driving through some interesting, historic towns. Hal gave a running commentary.

I was the first gal GCY had brought into the Sierras on the annual “boy” trip. He had taken Glennis and the kids but this trip which always had the group returning on July 4, no girls.

Hal was curious as to how I’d work out.

We had a big dinner Friday night in Lone Pine with the hotel manager’s son, who was going to accompany us, and his parents and others.

A few others had come into town to walk with us up to the pass, have lunch, and return to town.

We started out. My pack was 35 lbs. CY, Hal, and M’s were around 50lbs or more.

As we walked, GCY gave me a few pointers. One guest a few years back had raced up the first day while GCY walked slowly. GCY passed the rabbit who was puking his guts out from the altitude change.

Every few switchbacks, GCY would ask me if I wanted a “blow”. That was my cue. I’d say: “Yes,” and stop.

He would sit on a rock. I found sitting down okay – it was the getting back up with the 35lb pack on my back that was challenging so I learned to just stand for my rest.

We’d sit for a minute or two, then move on. Some of the others went on ahead. We had two guys and a gal with us who were returning after lunch.

GCY likes to tell the story this way: I’d say to him: You look bad – let me take some of the stuff in your pack. I’d say this to him every time we stopped and by the time we got to the pass, my pack was weighing 55 lbs and his 35 lbs. I assure this is not true.

This go and blow happened several times as we gained 3000’ from 9000’ to 12,000’ in about 4 miles. My own pace is a little faster but my feet most likely had blisters – boy did they hurt. I decided that they hurt, but that there was nothing dangerous like infected blisters. I was afraid to take them off – afraid I’d never get them on again.

One of the 2 guys was a doctor and he advised not to take them off when I first felt a blister coming on even though I had moleskin. I had played enough field hockey in new shoes to know I better have a good supply. I don’t know why I thought he would know what he was talking about – he was a cardiologist, not a foot doctor.

When we got to the pass, what a relief. We sat down in the sun and ate our sandwiches – the last ones we would have for at least two weeks. Deeeelicious.

We bade our farewells, and four of us continued on. At a certain point when we were climbing again, I was in the rear of the group – I about fainted but sat down and regained my equilibrium. I was short on iron and oxygen for sure.

The rest seemed downhill. Eight miles. But downhill.

When we got to where we’d be camping, there was no rest for the weary. We started putting up our tents, gathering firewood, getting out food.

GCY asked me to help M with getting water by the stream. I had taken off my boots at last and as expected, just the thought of putting them back on was excruciating. M saw my feet, had brought slippers for himself, but handed them to me. Too big, it wasn’t safe to walk down to the stream in them – two many rocks, boulders, and barefoot was not an option – too many things to stick on one’s foot.

GCY saw my feet and was stunned. There were blisters on blisters, clearly painful. He was stunned because I had uttered nary a complaint or indication of this.

I meekly asked if it was all right if I stayed close to camp and continued gathering wood instead. This also surprised him as I was willing to work just not get hurt more.

Yes was the answer especially as M was in good shape and was willing and able to gather the water.

Supper, since we weren’t near any streams with golden trout, was ramedan soup as well as hot chocolate with marshmallows. I forewent the jerky – too tough for me and the hot chocolate – chocolate would keep me up all night no matter how tired I was. The altitude might be enough to overcome re trying to sleep.

Hal offered to use his share of the food from his pack. Sounded nice to me until CGY clued the new kid (me) in: He’s just trying to lighten his load. Say no.

GCY and I went to bed right after supper. We changed into our pajamas and huddled together to keep warm.

It was a beautiful night.

The next morning, we had oatmeal (and grits for Hal), coffee, tea and packed up after filling our canteens. I delayed putting on those boots as long as possible.

Yeowwwww-ch. That was what I was thinking but it didn’t get voiced.

We headed out. How beautiful. About half a mile later, the 2 guys who had hiked with us flew over. We flashed our mirror at them so they came closer, waggled their wings and headed west.

The High Sierras are such beautiful country. We came around a hill, across a meadow of blue ??? and red flowers. Very marshy in areas so we had to be careful not to get wet.

GCY gave us a couple of atta-boys to get over the next hill. Atta-boys are Werther’s butterscotch candy – you get one to encourage you to get over the hill or one after you have achieved it. Hal brought a similar candy too – but a chocolate version.

M and Hal got way ahead of us – we didn’t mind too much – they could set up camp. And if we didn’t arrive, they’d know how to backtrack to find us.

This day, it rained. So GCY set up the tarp under which we waited it out. We also built a fire to keep warm. Frigid rain.

When the rain lightened up, we took down the tarp and continued on. GCY is a great leader. Knowing I was exhausted, cold, a little wet, feet hurting, but not complaining; he starting talking about the new regulations – no fires about 11,000’. Most of the wood is below that so why have that regulation? Then he told me stories of when he brought Glennis and the kids up. One year there was so much snow around Rocky Basin lakes that the boys built a tunnel inside the snow to slide down from the top of the cliff to the lake.

We hiked on up to our next stop. I immediately took off my shoes and stood on a rock airing out the blisters.

We built a big fire. Viktor Belenko called it the B.S. fire because usually the guys would talk b.s. into the night around it.

So beautiful. I put my ouch boots ouch back on and climbed down to the stream to wash up a little and bring some up for tea, coffee and ramadan noodles

The next morning, we had oatmeal, coffee, tea, grits for Hal, got packed up and headed out.

As we crested the hill and were coming down the other side, we stopped for some almonds, raisins, and jerky. Lunch.

We continued about 10 minutes when GCY said: Its going to pour in 5 minutes.

His brother said, No, I think it will hold off. We should be at Fungsten (lake) in 3 hours.

GCY ignored him and started setting up the tarp. I helped him. I had no doubt GCY was right.

To the second, five minutes later, le deluge!

We got under our tarp nice and comfy.

Hal and M came running back. We shouted: “No room! No room!” but of course we let them under – it was a tight fit. There is a photo somewhere.

I kidded Hal: “You doubted your brother’s take on the weather?”

He just shook his head at himself: “You’d think I’d know better after all these years.”

After about 30 minutes, the rain subsided so we gathered the tarp and set out again.

We reached Fungston in the afternoon and the usual campsite area about 45 minutes later. We unpacked. We’d be here for at least a week.

Then we headed up to Fungsten to get dinner. A little easier climb without the pack.

The Lord made only so many perfect heads -

December 17th, 2014

We had gone to see the Oak Ridge Boys, invited Patty Wagstaff, a well-known aerobatic aviator.

General Yeager introduced them as usual, in Oroville, CA. We had enjoyed the show and were chatting with the band afterwards.

Chuck looked at Jimmy, former bass with the Oak Ridge Boys, and long dark brown hair to General Yeager and remarked: The Lord made only so many perfect heads…..

The rest he covered with hair.

Jimmy (Oak Ridge Boys) shares with General Yeager

The Lord made only so many perfect heads, the rest he covered with hair – Chuck Yeager

Jimmy then loaned Chuck some of his hair.  (Patty Wagstaff in background right – photo bomb :-) or photo bombshell!

William Lee joined in later and loaned Chuck some of his beard.

Pretty darn fun!


Chuck Yeager: Where I Was on December 7, 1941 When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

December 8th, 2014

I had entered the Army Air Corps September 9, 1941, fresh out of high school and a summer of work, huntin’, swimmin’ and fishin’.

On December 7, 1941; I was stationed at Moffett Field in California, still a crew chief, although I had applied for pilot training.

I was walking downtown when I heard over the radio – that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. All military personnel were ordered to their bases.

Was California next? Or….what was next?


November 23, 1943: Off to war. And England.

December 2nd, 2014

November 23, 1943: Off to war. We got on the Queen Elizabeth to cross the Atlantic Ocean to war. There were 25,000  - one third sleeping, one third eating, one third puking. Then we switched every 8 hours.

They had three bunks on top of each other. You definitely didn’t want to be on the bottom – somebody cut the top two so they fell on the bottom one.

It was a long week going to England.

We got to our base – it was a sea of mud. What a mess. We waited for some airplanes.

Stay tuned.