After surviving a near-fatal airline crash and massive injuries in 1941 and injuring himself further by helping other victims from that crash, former WWI war hero Captain Eddie Rickenbacker a little over a year later experienced another near-fatal airline crash–this time in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

This is a story in itself: For 24 days Rickenbacker and crew mates drifted in life rafts at sea and their food supply ran out after three days. Then, on the eighth day, a seagull landed on Eddie’s head, which he manage to capture and which provided sustenance and kept them alive till they were finally rescued near death from dehydration and starvation.  Such miracles followed Eddie Rickenbacker throughout his life!

Born October 8, 1890, Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor and America’s most successful fighter ace in World War I with 26 aerial victories.  He was also a race car driver (he raced four times in the Indianapolis 500) and automotive designer, a military consultant to the U.S. government, a pioneer in air transportation (longtime head of Eastern Air Lines) and owner of the Indianapolis Speedway.  Besides winning the Medal of Honor, Captain Eddie was awarded America’s second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross…seven times!

The life story of Eddie Rickenbacker is truly an amazing one, and he remains one of our country’s most decorated and bravest war heroes.  To read more about his illustrious life, visit this great site: http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/airforce/p/rickenbacker.htm.  And to learn about our 59 Veterans Project, please visit us online here: http://www.59veterans.com.  We salute Eddie Rickenbacker and all our veterans, past and present, and those who wear the uniform and walk the wall.  All of us are honored by your service!

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” –Eddie Rickenbacker


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