b. 08/10/1890 Columbus, Ohio. d. 23/07/1973 Zurich, Switzerland.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 25/09/1918 Billy, France.
World War I Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Distinguished Service Cross Recipient, Fighter Ace, Aviator, Race Car Driver, America's 'Ace of Aces' during World War I. The son of Swiss immigrants, he first gained fame driving race cars. He raced 4 time in the Indianapolis 500 with his best finish being 10th in 1914. He enlisted in the Army in 1917 when the United States declared war on Germany. Due to his mechanical prowess, he started the war as an engineering officer and almost wasn't allowed to become a pilot. However, once he found himself and his unit a competent replacement, he was awarded a place in the 94th Aero Squadron. Here, he would become a legend. On April 29, 1918, he shot down his first plane and earned his first DSC. Five months later, now a Captain, he commanded the squadron. The following month he recorded his final kill of his 26 official victories scored in the war, the highest record for an American pilot. His 7 Distinguished Service Crosses have never been equaled. He also was awarded the French Croix de Guerre. Incredibly, he earned 5 DSCs within a month, and 2 DSCs on consecutive days. Following the war, he bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ran it until 1945 when he sold it. In 1931 an eighth DSC was upgraded by the War Department to the Medal of Honor. He created Eastern Airlines, staying with the company until he was forced out as CEO in 1959; four years later he stepped down as chairman of the board. In October 1942, he was aboard a B-17 bomber on a secret mission in the Pacific, when it crashed, and he and six others spent 24 days afloat on life rafts. The following year he traveled on another mission for the War Department, this time to the U.S.S.R. The year after his death, the United States Air Force renamed Lockbourne Air Force Base in his home town of Columbus, Ohio, Rickenbacker Air Force Base. In 1992 his racing career was honored as he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. It was honored once more in 1994, with his induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. In 1995, the US Postal Service honored him as an aviation pioneer with a postage stamp in his likeness. The Rickenbacker Guitar Company choose to use that name not only because one of the founders of the company was his relative, but because he had made the name so popular.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy near Billy, France, 25 September 1918. While on a voluntary patrol over the lines, 1st Lt. Rickenbacker attacked 7 enemy planes (5 type Fokker, protecting two type Halberstadt). Disregarding the odds against him, he dived on them and shot down one of the Fokkers out of control. He then attacked one of the Halberstadts and sent it down also
BURIAL LOCATION: GREEN LAWN CEMETERY, COLUMBUS, OHIO.
Section 58, Lot 31
NO IMAGE AVAILABLE