Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was known as America’s ace of aces while WW1 was going on.
He had the top number of aerial winnings. An aerial winning/victory is when an air ace/flying ace/fighter ace shoots down the aircraft of their enemy while fighting in the air. He was also known to be a risk taker, he survived over 100 close encounters with death in his life. This essay will discuss Edward Vernon Rickenbacker’s life, career, and influence/ impact on WW1.
Eddie Rickenbacker was born on October 8th, 1890 in Columbus, Ohio.His parents were immigrants from Switzerland, and he was the third born child out of eight children. At first he was Edward Rickenbacher, but his parents added his middle name because they wanted it to sound nice, and they also replaced the “c” in his last name to a “k”, so that he would people would not mistake him to be a German.When Eddie was a young child, he was a horrible child in terms of his behavior.
He apparently smoked when he was just five years old,and he was also the leader of a group of young boys called “The Horsehead Gang”. At the very young age of 8 is when he had his first close encounter with death, the cause was when he and the members of his “gang” used a steel cart and slid down into a deep pit that was filled with gravel. The end result was that the art flipped over on his leg, and the cart cut all the way through his leg to his bone.
His father passed away when he was 12, which led to him quitting school. After his dad’s passing, he became the main money-maker/earner for his house. This was a very difficult job for him, because he had to provide for himself, his mother, and four siblings.. In one of his many memoirs he stated “That day, I turned from a harum-scarum youngster into a man serious beyond my age.
“. To earn the money that he needed he sold newspapers, eggs and goat-milk, while also working as a factory that made glass. While he was making money from all of those jobs, he started looking for more sources of money. Soon after, he started to work in a brewery, a shoe-making factory, a monument works (a structure building place), and a foundry ( a workshop for casting metal). Soon, engines became an interest for young Rickenbacker, and in 1906 he got a iob that shifted his life. He went to go work with Lee Frayer, the head of the Frayer-Miller Automobile Corporation.
Frayer enjoyed Rickenbacker and gave him permission to ride in races, acting as a mechanic. Afterwards, Rickenbacker went to Columbus buggy Co., where he worked as a salesman. In 1912, he joined the automobile creator, Fred Duesenberg. Soon after that he started to be known as a guy who took risks while driving. He won races- but he had many close encounters with death, and most times he barely escaped.
Every time after a crash, he would telegraph his mom, to make sure that she wouldn’t be too worried about him.Right after America entered the war in 1917, he was quickly registered into the army. He soon was a driver who worked with John (Black Jack) Pershing, the General of the US Commander-in- Chief. Thankfully, Rickenbacker met Billy Mitchell, a US air developer. Billy Mitchell ended up helping Eddie get into the US air service in late 1917.
Even though he was too old to even be working in the air service, he still received the “ok” to be a part of the “94th Aero Pursuit Squadron” in early 1918. He received this “ok” after only being a pilot student for 17 days. Given less than 9 months until the armistice (an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time; a truce.), Rickenbacker focused on building a reputation as an amazing air ace. He got his 5th aerial victory on may 30th, 1918.
At the end of the war, Eddie had earned 26 ‘kills ‘ (successfully taken down enemies), which had him as being the most effective pilot from America in WW1. He had made an important charge on at least 8 of the German planes in 1918, which lead him to receiving the Medal of Honor in 1930.When he was around 73 years old, he finally decided to retire from flying. He went with his wife to go live on a ranch that was in Texas, but because of the ranch’s location, the Rickenbacker’s wanted to move. They went back to New York to live for a short time. He ended up later giving the Boy Scouts the ranch.
Shortly after the move to New York they found a home that they liked better, located in Florida, and they lived there until Eddie had another close encounter with death- a stroke (1972). Luckily, he got better afterwards, as soon as he was better, he decided to Switzerland in an attempt to fund something to help his sick wife. Sadly, while Eddie was there- he got sick with pneumonia and passed away on July 23, 1973 ( at 82 years old) . His remains were put underground with some of his family members back in Columbus, Ohio.In conclusion, Edward Vernon Rickenbacker had an amazing full life as a rebellious child, a speaker, an author, a fighter pilot, and so many other things! He did an amazing job serving the country in WW1, and not once did he give up or lose sight at what was important to him. During it all he never lost faith or confidence.
He always made sure to keep doubt, fear, and anything else that could hold him back away from him.Even though he had many close encounters with death, he always kept all of these qualities, which is exactly how he went down in history as “America’s WW1 Ace of Aces”.