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Famed fighter pilot Chuck Yeager dead at age 97

Famed fighter pilot Chuck Yeager dead at age 97
Posted at 8:02 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 00:03:45-05

Chuck Yeager, the famed World War II fighter pilot who was the first pilot to break the speed of sound, died on Monday at the age of 97, Yeager's wife Victoria Yeager said on his Twitter account.

According to family, Yeager died shortly before 9 p.m. ET on Monday.

"An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever," Victoria Yeager tweeted.

Yeager earned a number of awards for his service to America, including the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit, among others. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan in 1985. He was also named to the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973.

He reached the rank of brigadier general during his 34-year military career.

Yeager faced challenges along the way to his historic run as a test pilot. He was shot down in 1944 over German-occupied France, and was briefly imprisoned.