Edward V. Rickenbacker Microfilm Collection

Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (1890-1973) had only a sixth grade education but became a leading aviation figure in both military and civilian circles. Rickenbacker was a fighter ace during World War I, where as a member of the 94th Aero Squadron he shot down 22 German aircraft and 4 observation balloons. He became a colonel in the Army Air Reserves and during WWII helped form the Military Air Transport Services. In the civilian sector, Rickenbacker worked at several airlines, including Fokker Aircraft Corporation and American Airways, before going to work at Eastern Airlines in 1934. In 1939 Rickenbacker became Eastern's president and chairman, positions he held until 1963.