Lt. Gen. Charles G. “Chick” Cleve­land, USAF

Air & Space Smithsonian - - In The Museum -

“As a ju­nior bird­man, I never thought about be­com­ing an ace un­til I had four con­firmed kills,” says Cleve­land. “Then I wanted to get that last con­firmed vic­tory, which didn’t hap­pen un­til Jan­uary 2008, when the Air Force of­fi­cially rec­og­nized one of my two prob­a­bles in 1952 as a con­firmed [kill].” The late con­fir­ma­tion, based on doc­u­men­ta­tion dis­cov­ered in Rus­sian mil­i­tary archives and eye­wit­ness ac­counts from Cleve­land’s wing­man, made him the 40th jet ace of the Korean War.

Like many U. S. Air Force pi­lots, Cleve­land loved fly­ing North Amer­i­can’s F-86 Sabre. “It was the Cadil­lac of fight­ers in its day,” he says. “I felt very much at home and in com­mand in the cock­pit.”

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