Iven C. Kincheloe Jr.
Iven C. Kincheloe, Jr. was typical of those young Americans who fought the Communist threat in the skies over Korea. Born on July 2, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan, he entered the Air
Force under the cadet program at Purdue University. While a member of the AFROTC, he was sent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in July 1948 for summer training. The next year he graduated from Purdue with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and in August 1950, he was awarded USAF pilot wings at Williams AFB, Arizona.
For the next year he served in the U.S. and in September 1951, he arrived in Korea where he flew F-80s on 30 missions and F 86s on 101 missions. Before he returned to the U.S. in May 1952, he had downed five MiG-15's, becoming out nation's 10th jet ace.
In 1955, Kincheloe became a test pilot and was assigned to Edwards AFB, California. On September 7, 1956, he piloted the Bell X-2 rocket-powered research airplane more than 2,000 mph and to 126,200 ft., the highest altitude to which man had ever flown. For this spectacular flight, he was awarded the Mackay Trophy and nicknamed "America's No. 1 Spaceman". Kincheloe was then selected to be the USAF pilot to fly the famous X-15 rocket plane still under construction. However, he was killed while taking off in an F-104 from Edwards on July 26, 1958.
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|Iven C. Kincheloe Jr.|
Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr.
(1928-07-02)July 2, 1928
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
July 26, 1958(1958-07-26) (aged 30)
Edwards Air Force Base, California, U.S.
|Other occupation||Test pilot|
|Alma mater||Purdue University, B.S. 1949|
|Selection||1957 MISS Group|
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal (4)
Iven Carl "Kinch" Kincheloe Jr. (July 2, 1928 – July 26, 1958), (Capt, USAF), was an American test pilot, recipient of the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, aeronautical engineer, and an ace in the Korean War.
Kincheloe was born July 2, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan but grew up in Cassopolis, Michigan. He was the only child of Iven C. Kincheloe Sr. (1894–1966) and Frances Wilder Kincheloe. He was interested in aircraft from a very young age. Following his high school graduation in 1945, he attended Purdue University. He joined the ROTC, was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon-Indiana Alpha fraternity, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1949. In the summer of 1948, the ROTC cadet was able to meet Chuck Yeager and sit in the cockpit of the Bell X-1.
After graduating in 1949, Kincheloe received his commission in the U.S. Air Force. After receiving his pilot wings in August 1950, he spent a year as a test pilot flying the F-86E at Edwards Air Force Base, California before being promoted to first lieutenant and transferred to Korea in September 1951. During the war, he flew F-80s on 30 combat missions and F-86s on 101 combat missions, downing five MiG-15s (becoming an ace and earning the Silver Star) before returning to the U.S. in May 1952. At this time, he had reached the rank of captain.
After the war, first he worked as a gunnery instructor at the Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Then, he again became a test pilot, graduating in December 1954 from the Empire Test Pilots' School at Farnborough, England. He participated in the testing of the Century Series of fighter aircraft (F-100 Super Sabre, F-101 Voodoo, F-102 Delta Dagger, F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief, and F-106 Delta Dart). In the mid-1950s, Kincheloe joined the Bell X-2 program and on September 7, 1956, flew at more than 2,000 mph (3,200 km/h) and to a height of 126,200 feet (38,500 m) (some sources list 126,500), the first flight ever above 100,000 feet. For this he was nicknamed "America's No. 1 Spaceman". The X-2 program was halted just three weeks later after a fatal crash resulted in the death of Mel Apt in a flight in which Apt became the first person to exceed Mach 3. Three years later, Kincheloe was selected as one of the first three pilots in the next rocket-powered aircraft program, the X-15, and would have been part of the Man In Space Soonest project.
He was killed in the crash of an F-104A at Edwards AFB, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. He was only 30 years old and was survived by wife, Dorothy, their young son, Iven, III, and a daughter who was born two months later, Jeannine.
Senior pilot badge
|Legion of Merit|
|Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters|
|Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters|
|Air Force Presidential Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster|
|National Defense Service Medal|
|Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with oak leaf cluster|
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal
Korean War Service Medal