United States of America
Major General Marion Carl was a World War II ace and post-war test pilot who established several major world speed and altitude records. General Carl's flying exploits were legendary. In 1942, he became the first Marine fighter ace, downing three Japanese bombers and a fighter plane in a single encounter over Guadalcanal. Before departing the South Pacific, he was credited with 12 kills. After the war General Carl became a Navy Test Pilot. He set the World Speed record of 651 mph on August 25, 1947, at what is now Edward Airforce Base in California. When Chuck Yeager, the Air Force's top test pilot, recaptured the record by breaking the sound barrier, a determined Marion Carl flew the Bell X-1 rocket plane on October 14 to speeds exceeding 700 mph. Recognizing the military potential for vertical flight, he became the 2nd Marine to be licensed as a helicopter pilot. Flying a fixed-wing aircraft in 1953, General Carl set a world altitude record of 83,235 feet. He returned to combat during the Vietnam war, where he commanded the 2nd Marine Air Wing. He retired in 1973 with 13,000 flying hours, the Navy Cross with two Gold Stars, the Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars; and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Four Gold Stars.
General Carl was a role model for several generations of Marine Corps aviators who universally admired Carl's self-discipline, personal courage, and determination.
AHS Update: Vertiflite Summer 1998