Monday, January 18, 2010

Chuck Yeager and Military Celebrities

The United States Air Force, like any other organization, needs celebrities; poster boys who represent the heroes who have “The Right Stuff” (one of my favorite movies of all time).

I was surprised when I read about this lawsuit and the Fark comments. The Farkers know the truth about Chuck Yeager, a real American hero who does not suffer fools gladly:

- “Get a grip. This is Chuck Yeager. Brass Frickin' Balls. There is not a single one of us pansy asses wackin' off on Fark and thinking that we is so studley that could even carry Chuck's jock.”

- “You REALLY don't want to fark around with Chuck Yeager. I remember him telling me that the best way to keep people from pushing you around was to make them regret it every time they tried. Good advice. He didn't tolerate idiots well, as I recall.”

This is the statement that Yeager’s family is suing over. IANAL, buit this is not actionable, IMHO:

“Not unlike Buzz Aldrin or Chuck Yeager, you have the opportunity to be part of a monumental moment in air travel”

Note that Buzz Aldrin is not suing Virgin Airlines. I love this video of Buzz, where he punches out an asswipe who calls him a coward!

Manufacturing Celebrities

As background, the USAF has a history of manufacturing celebrities, like when they made Jimmy Stewart a Air Force General, more about his fame as an actor than his ability to command:

Make a Hollywood hit and become a General officer

Chuck Yeager is only one of thousands of young men to have distinguished themselves in aerial combat, real heroes whose names are all but forgotten like Ralph Parr, a truly amazing fighter pilot, one of the greatest jet fighter aces in American history.

Nobody knows Ralph Parr, but you don’t earn this kind of fruit salad by being a pussy:

Choosing the next American Hero

Truth be told, there were 125 test pilots who could have taken that first supersonic flight, a straight and level walk in the park.

Chuck Yeager is a real-deal American hero who won the Silver Star and got the Distinguished Flying Cross three times, but that was nothing super-special in 1944.

Thousands of young Americans risked their lives daily to help liberate Europe from the Nazi’s.

If you get a chance, read Chuck Yeager’s autobiography, and it will become clear that Chuck is am amazing man, a real hero, but that brand of heroism was not unique, and I think that Chuck would wholeheartedly agree.