Eddie Rickenbacker facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
Capt. E.V. "Eddie" Rickenbacker wearing the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Air Force photo)
October 8, 1890|
|Died||July 23, 1973
|Place of burial|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
||United States Army Air Service|
|Years of service||1917–1919|
|Commands held||94th Aero Squadron|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
|Awards||Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross (9)
World War I Victory Medal
Legion of Honor
Croix de Guerre
|Other work||Championship racing driver
Rickenbacker car company
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Eastern Air Lines
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 23, 1973) was an American fighter ace in World War I. He was also a Medal of Honor recipient. With 26 aerial victories he was America's most successful fighter ace in the war. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer. He was a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in airline transport. He was also the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.
He was born Edward Richenbacher (without a middle name) in Columbus, Ohio. His parents were German-speaking Swiss immigrants. Since childhood he loved machines and experimented with them. He was encouraged by his father's words: "A machine has to have a purpose".
Rickenbacker nearly died many times. He had an early run-in with a horse-drawn carriage, a botched tonsillectomy and multiple airplane crashes. His first near death experience occurred when he was in the "Horsehead Gang". He lived near a mine and they decided to ride a cart down the slope. It tipped over and almost crushed them.
He stopped going to school in grade seven after the accidental death of his father on August 26, 1904. Rickenbacker found jobs to help support the family. Driven by an intense admiration for machines he taught himself as much as he could. This included enrolling in a correspondence course in engineering. He aggressively pursued any chance of involvement with automobiles. Rickenbacker went to work at the Columbus Buggy Company. He eventually becoming a salesman.
Rickenbacker became well known as a race car driver. He competed in the Indianapolis 500 four times before World War I. He earned the nickname "Fast Eddie". He joined the Maxwell Race Team in 1915 after leaving Peugeot. After the Maxwell team disbanded that same year, he joined the Prest-O-Lite team as manager and continued to race improved Maxwells for Prest-O-Lite.
He was in the United States Army in 1917 when Congress declared war. Soon he was in France where he became a pilot.
Verified aerial victories
|1||Apr 29, 1918||1810||Nieuport||Pfalz D.III||Baussant|
|2||May 7, 1918||0805||Nieuport||Pfalz D.III||Pont-à-Mousson|
|3||May 17, 1918||1824||Nieuport||Albatros D.V||Ribécourt|
|4||May 22, 1918||0912||Nieuport||Albatros D.V||Flirey|
|5||May 28, 1918||0925||Nieuport||Albatros C.I||Bois de Rate|
|6||May 30, 1918||0738||Nieuport||Albatros C.I||Jaulny|
|7||Sep 14, 1918||0815||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Villecy|
|8||Sep 15, 1918||0810||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Bois de Warville|
|9||Sep 25, 1918||0840||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Billy|
|10||Sep 25, 1918||0850||SPAD XIII||Halberstadt C||Foret de Spincourt|
|11||Sep 26, 1918||0600||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Damvillers|
|12||Sep 28, 1918||0500||SPAD XIII||Balloon||Sivry-sur-Meuse|
|13||Oct 1, 1918||1930||SPAD XIII||Balloon||Puzieux|
|14||Oct 2, 1918||1730||SPAD XIII||Hannover CL||Montfaucon|
|15||Oct 2, 1918||1740||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Vilosnes|
|16||Oct 3, 1918||1707||SPAD XIII||Balloon||Dannevoux|
|17||Oct 3, 1918||1640||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Cléry-le-Grand|
|18||Oct 9, 1918||1752||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Dun-sur-Meuse|
|19||Oct 10, 1918||1552||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Cléry-le-Petit|
|20||Oct 10, 1918||1552||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Cléry-le-Petit|
|21||Oct 22, 1918||1555||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Cléry-le-Petit|
|22||Oct 23, 1918||1655||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Grande Carne Ferme|
|23||Oct 27, 1918||1505||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Bois de Money|
|24||Oct 27, 1918||1450||SPAD XIII||Fokker D.VII||Grand Pre|
|25||Oct 27, 1918||1635||SPAD XIII||Balloon||St. Juvin|
|26||Oct 30, 1918||1040||SPAD XIII||Balloon||Remonville|
Honors and awards
- Adamson, Hans Christian, Eddie Rickenbacker, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1946.
- Blank, Joan Gill. Key Biscayne, Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL, 1996. ISBN: 1-56164-096-4.
- Farr, Finis, Rickenbacker's Luck - An American Life, Houghton-Mifflin Company, Boston, 1979, ISBN: 0-395-27102-9.
- Franks, Norman, et al. American Aces of World War I. Osprey Publishing, 2001. ISBN: 1-84176-375-6, ISBN: 978-1-84176-375-0.
- Lewis, W. David, Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the Twentieth Century, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2005.
- Rickenbacker, Captain Edward V., Fighting the Flying Circus, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1919.
- Rickenbacker, Captain Edward V., Seven Came Through, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1943.
- Rickenbacker, Edward V., Rickenbacker: an Autobiography, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1967.
- Serling, Robert J., From the Captain to the Colonel; An Informal History of Eastern Airlines, The Dial Press, New York, 1980.
- Whittaker, James C., We Thought We Heard the Angels Sing, E. P. Dutton, New York, 1943. An account of the adrift at sea experience by another member of the crew.
- Fighting The Flying Circus (Wings of War) (1919) - text in public domain
Images for kids
Rickenbacker's uniform on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Eddie Rickenbacker Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.