Chuck Yeager, First Pilot to Break the Sound...

Chuck Yeager, First Pilot to Break the Sound Barrier, Robert Cardenas, Command Pilot of the Aircraft that Launched Him, and Bob Hoover, Chase Plane Pilot for the Historic Flight, Reunite at Spirit of '45 Event at San Diego Air & Space Museum February

Three world-class test pilots make rare appearance together in San Diego

San Diego, 2.09.2012

San Diego, CA - February 10, 2012 - Chuck Yeager, the first human to break the sound barrier, Robert Cardenas, the pilot of the B-29 that launched Chuck Yeager on his historic flight and Bob Hoover, “the best stick and rudder man who ever lived” (according to famed aviator Jimmy Doolittle), reunite for a rare appearance at The Spirit of '45 Awards and Celebration Dinner on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. The event is part of the 2012 Spirit of '45 National Leader's Conference being held February 17-19, 2012. All three men are also inducted in the San Diego Air & Space International Hall of Fame for their legendary contributions to air and space history.

The Spirit of '45 is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative to raise public awareness about National Spirit of '45 Day so that it is observed every year in communities throughout America. The San Diego Air & Space Museum is a proud partner of "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive." Their Honorary Chairman is San Diego's own Jerry Coleman, World Series MVP for the New York Yankees. Coleman sacrificed five years of his career as a professional ball player to serve his country as a Marine pilot in during World War II and the Korean War (the only Major League Baseball player ever to see combat in two wars). Air Force General Chuck Yeager, recipient of the 2012 Individual Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his service to his country during and after WWII, will also be presented his award at the dinner. Numerous other World War II veterans and defenders of freedom will be in attendance including Pearl Harbor survivors and Tuskegee Airmen. Other special guests include Colonel Steve Pisanos, SDASM’s Hall of Fame inductee and legendary “Flying Greek.”

Rounding out the evening, Master of Ceremonies Mark Larson, KCBQ 1170 Radio Talk Show Host and current Chairman of the Board for the Air & Space Museum will be on hand take guests through an evening of fun and honoring. One highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the 2012 Spirit of '45 Awards to six World War II industry leaders, which were major contributors to America's "Arsenal of Democracy" during World War II. Receiving the Awards: Northrop Grumman, Boeing Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Lockheed Martin and Chrysler Group.

In 2010, Congress voted unanimously in support of observing a National Spirit of '45 Day on the second Sunday of August each year, coinciding with the anniversary of August 14, 1945, the day President Harry Truman announced that World War II had ended. The primary goal of National Spirit of '45 Day is keep alive the courage, self-sacrifice, commitment to service and pure love of country of "ordinary heroes" who endured the Great Depression, fought and won World War II and then led an unprecedented effort to build a better world for their children and their children’s children.

Brig. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Yeager joined the Army Air Forces in 1941, receiving his wings in 1943. During his World War II service Yeager shot down 13 German aircraft, becoming a double ace. In 1945 he was assigned to the Air Forces Flight Test Center, and, in October 1947, at Edwards Air Force Base, Yeager became the first pilot to break the sound barrier, flying the Bell X-1. During the Vietnam War, Yeager flew 127 combat missions. He retired from Air Force active duty in 1975. In 1997 on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight he once again broke the sound barrier, this time in an F-15.

Brig. Gen. Robert Cardenas joined the Army Air Corps before WW II, receiving his commission in July 1941. General Cardenas flew over 60 different aircraft during his career as a test pilot, combat leader and Commander of the Air Force Special Operations Force. He flew B-24 Liberators over Germany during WW II. Shot down on his 20th mission, he was able to evade capture, eventually escaping. General Cardenas served as the pilot of the B-29 that launched then Captain Charles Yeager into supersonic flight. General Cardenas ended his highly distinguished Air Force career in 1973.

Robert A. “Bob” Hoover is known as “The Pilot’s Pilot,” and was described by Jimmy Doolittle as “the greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived.” During WW II, among several roles, he served as a test pilot, flying every aircraft in our arsenal. He also flew Spitfires with the 52nd Fighter Group, was shot down in 1944, but eventually managed to escape by “stealing” a FW 190 and flying it to Holland. Chuck Yeager specifically asked that Bob Hoover be part of the X-1 team, where he served as back-up pilot, and piloted the chase plane during Yeager’s historic flight. Bob Hoover’s later fame as an aerobatic pilot and air race participant is without parallel, having flown at more than 2,500 air shows.

To purchase tickets, please visit:

For more information please call (619) 234-8291 or visit

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California's official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Now on display, “How Things Fly,” a special exhibition that examines the wonder of flight through four fun and interactive zones. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with admissions until 4:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.


rounded bottom