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Chuck Yeager, the man with the ‘right stuff,’ is dead at 97

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Chuck Yeager next to experimental aircraft Bell X-1 #1 Glamorous Glennis (public domain)

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Yeager, the embodiment of the U.S. Air Force “right stuff,” died Monday at the age of 97.

Yeager became a pilot during World War II and was a test pilot for many years after the war. He was the first man to break the sound barrier — about 770 mph — in 1947, a feat that many believed could not be done.

Yeager was portrayed by Sam Shepard in the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff,” which contrasted the history of the first astronauts with Yeager’s career as a test pilot.

Yeager’s death is “a tremendous loss to our nation,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement.

“Gen. Yeager’s pioneering and innovative spirit advanced America’s abilities in the sky and set our nation’s dreams soaring into the jet age and the Space Age. He said, ‘You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done.’”

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