Update: General Yeager died on December 7, 2020, at the age of 97. The following day, Terry Gross of NPR’s “Fresh Air” broadcast a 10-minute excerpt from her 1988 interview with Yeager. Listen here, with transcript.
Ticket and Program with featured speaker Brigadier General Charles E. Yeager (USAF Retired). The text for the ring description, introduction of Gen. Yeager, program of events, and menu is printed below.
1976 CLASS RING
The highest point in the design of the 1976 Class Ring is occupied by Polaris. the guiding stgar over which is superimposed the Roman numeral eighteen. In this way we, the eighteenth graduating class, signify the high goals we have chosen as our own
to guide us through our careers.
On either side of the Polaris is a plane. The contrails. side by side, tell a story of unity, while their climbing attitude of flight represents our climbing to meet the challenges we will face in the years to come.
The Falcon, poised for attack, represents the Class of 1976. Held in its talons, the sword represents knowledge and the lightning bolts signify the awesome potential of aerospace power. The Falcon. when armed with these two powers, represents the vigilance, strength and determination that will insure the promise of freedom for future generations of Americans.
At the base of the design lies the olive branch, the traditional symbol of peace. It represents the Class of 1976’s strong desire that peace should prevail.
Beneath the Falcon’s protective wing are the three figures and flag from Willard’s painting, “Spirit of 76.” They are a reminder to us of a patriotic struggle that was to see a dream become an infant nation.
Born of a revolutionary spark: forged in the heat of our battle for independence; and tampered by years of triumph: our nation shall remain great so long as we remember what it took to make our nation great. The untold courage of those willing to fight oppression, the pride in seeing an impossible dream male real, the untold sacrifices of so many patriots, and their hopes for a better future. were said then. And now, 200 years later, we say in our motto, in three simple, cherished words:
“SPIRIT OF ’76”
BRIGADIER GENERAL CHARLES E. YEAGER (USAF RET)
General “Chuck” Yeager was born in West Virginia in 1923, graduated from high school in 1941 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private before the war. He was trained as a pilot under the Flying Sergeants Program. He received his wings at Luke Field in the spring of 1943 at age 19 and was sent to England in the fall of 1943 as a flight officer in the 357th Fighter Group, the first Mustang Group in 8th Air Force. He was shot down in occupied France in March 1944 and with the help of the French Underground escaped to Spain. After four months, he made it to Gibraltar and was flown back to England by the British. He returned to his squadron and combat, shooting down 13 enemy aircraft, five ME 109’s on one mission. He shot down an ME 262, one of the first jets shot down in the war.
He returned home in February 1945 and entered flight test at Wright Field, Ohio, July 1945. He was selected for the XS-1 program in 1947 and in that airplane became the first person in the world to fly faster than the speed of sound. He spent nine years at Muroc and Edwards flying all of the research aircraft, XS-1 through X-5. In 1953, he flew the X-lA to a speed of 1650 miles per hour, a mach number of 2.5.
He spent a tour in Germany and at George AFB as a Fighter Squadron Commander. He attended the Air War College in 1960 and then was assigned as Commandant of the Astronaut School at Edwards, where 41 of the astronauts were trained.
He went to Southeast Asia in 1966 as a Wing Commander and flew 127 missions in Vietnam.
He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1969 and served as Vice Commander of 17th Air Force in Germany before being sent to Pakistan in 1971 to serve with the Pakistan Air Force for the war with India.
He returned to the United States in 1973 and was assigned as Director of Safety for the United States Air Force. He retired from the Air Force effective 1 March 1975.
General Yeager has flown 174 types of military aircraft during his career, for a total of just under 11,000 hours, of which 10,300 were in fighters.
PROGRAM OF EVENTS
MESS CALLED TO ORDER: COLORS ADVANCED
INTRODUCTION OF HONORED GUESTS
PRESENTATION OF RING TO CLASS PRESIDENT
PRESENTATION OF CLASS RINGS
ADDRESS BY GUEST SPEAKER
COLORS RETIRED: MESS ADJOURNED
BEAJOLAIS DINNER WINE
BAKED IDAHO POTATO ___ BUTTERED NEW PEAS
Sour Cream & Chive Dressing
FRESH GARDEN SALAD
FRUIT PUNCH ___ HOT COFFEE
HOT DINNER ROLLS
ICE CREAM TORTE CAKE