Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Chuck Yeager Broke the Sound Barrier But Not The Immortality Barrier--Dead At 97


Chuck Yeager was a man destined not to be shackled for a long time to the ground
Before war broke out he enlisted in the Army Air Force was not to be skyward bound
Turned down for flight school because of his young age
Confined to the wrench as a mechanic until on December 7, 1941  we had a war to wage
Pilots were scarce and we clearly need and soon many more
Chuck was admitted to flight training for an aspiring fighter pilot he could ask for nothing more
Off to Europe to fly the against the Luftwaffe in a P-51
Very soon he quickly in combat over France he shot down one
But live by the sword you die by the sword and Martian tables were turned
A Luftwaffe pilot probably a veteran against Yeager another victory earned
Bailed  out safely to Earth
Grateful for a well packed chute
Linked up with the French Maquis
Helping them build  bombs and then smuggled over the Pyrenees
Back to England as an “evader” which meant a ticket outside the combat zones
Chuck was a man never to danger duck and begged Ike to let him return to make the Luftwaffe atone
At war’s end he and his Mustang “Glamorous Glen” had shot down 11.5 planes including a jet to become an ace
After war’s end the thrill of speed and flying kept him from returning to the humdrum civilian race
Became a test pilot to put planes to their extremes over the California skies
As the Air Forces sought to the sound barrier to planes no longer deny
Two days before the attempt while riding a horse thrown to hear ribs crack
In great pain went to a doctor off base for taping fearing from the flight he would be sacked
Couldn’t close the canopy of the Bell X-1 and needed Jack Ridley’s aid
With a broom handle as a lever they managed to pass the cockpit sealing grade
On October 14, 1947 he flew into the skies in a B-29 bomb bay
Released his rocket engine ignited to in level flight break the sound barrier that day
Ironic that Chuck Yeager, the pilot who trained the Mercury 7 astronauts
Whose flying skills were off the charts, with only a high school degree his chance to orbit went for naught  
Glennis was with him on his planes and in married life for 45 years before from cancer she died
While hiking in 2000 he was fortunate enough to the path of Victoria Scott D’Angelo  cross
 Something clicked and in 2003 his 13 years of bachelorhood he once again lost
Another member of the Greatest Generation at 97 has just flown his last flight
Beaten by the aging process that may be delayed but never loses the fight
A pilot and leader that personified the Right Stuff
Sadly of men like him there can never be enough

© December 8, 2020, 2017, Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet
Alaskanpoet for Hire, Poems to Admire

Poet Extraordinaire Beyond Compare
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