Eddie Rickenbacker an American Icon: Father of the Indianapolis 500

Published: 23 January 2024

By Mark Caruthers
via the HUBPAGES website


Rickenbacker in 1915 in his Maxell Special at the Indianapolis 500 that year. He would earn the nickname "Fast Eddie."

American “Ace of Aces” in WWI raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1915, and would eventually own the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1936.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the everyday life of the human race was still centered around the horse and buggy era, but that was soon being upended by a rapid chain of events.

With the dawn of electricity and the invention of Edison’s bright incandescent bulbs cities became beacons of light on the American landscape. It was a century where its inventions would revolutionize everyday life of the human race.

These changes were on a scope and magnitude not yet seen in human history, the Yankee ingenuity of America’s independent inventors such as Thomas Alva Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, thrust civilization into a new age of technology.

Yet possibly the most significant invention of the twentieth century was the internal combustion engine, which would power the first practical car in 1895 and make sustained, heavier-than-air flight possible only eight years later.

Within a few short years of Ford’s introduction of the Model T in 1908, every American had a chance to speed across the countryside. Speed was now available for a whole host of new purposes. For the first time in history Americans could operate a machine regularly capable of outdistancing the fastest stallion.

In an age where the globe began to shrink as flight would become an accessible many decided to learn to fly. During that time period Eddie Rickenbacker decided to take his first steps into the earth’s unforgiving atmosphere.

Mindful of the delays of getting into the flying service he accepted General Pershing’s invitation to join the U.S. Army as his chauffer. He enlisted in the infantry and became Pershing’s driver at the front, where he wisely foresaw, he would find a quicker opportunity for entering the flying service.

In eighteen short months after enlisting into the Army he returned to the United States as a hero, the American Ace of Aces. Captain Rickenbacker became as the known as the Commanding Officer of America’s Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron its most successful fighter squadron of the First World War. It totaled more hours of flying over enemy lines than any other American Squadron.

Read the entire article on the HUBPAGES website.
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