Rickenbacker, Edward Vernon

Rickenbacker, Edward Vernon, 1890–1973, American war hero and airline executive, b. Columbus, Ohio. He became a car racing driver at 16 and set numerous speed records. In World War I he volunteered for the air service and became the leading U.S. ace by destroying 26 enemy planes. After serving as an executive of several airline companies, he became president and general manager (1938–53) and chairman of the board (1954–63) of Eastern Airlines, which he built into a major passenger and transport system. A political conservative, he often spoke on contemporary American affairs. His book Seven Came Through (1943) recounts his 22 days on a raft in World War II after running out of fuel while on an observation tour. He also wrote Fighting the Flying Circus (1919).

See his autobiography (1967) and his From Father to Son, ed. by W. F. Rickenbacker (1970).

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