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Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 27, 1973) was an Americanmarker fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.

Early life

He was born Edward Rickenbacher (without a middle name) in Columbus, Ohiomarker to German-speaking Swissmarker immigrants. From childhood, he loved machines and experimented with them, encouraged by his father's words: "A machine has to have a purpose".

In what was to become one of the defining characteristics of Rickenbacker's life, he nearly died many times in events ranging from an early run-in with a horse-drawn carriage, to a botched tonsillectomy, to airplane crashes. His first near-death experience occurred when he was in the "Horsehead Gang". He lived near a mine, and they decided to ride a cart down the slope. It tipped over and almost crushed them.

Thirteen-year-old Rickenbacker's schooling ended in grade seven after the accidental death of his father on August 26, 1904. He found jobs to help support the family, but driven by an intense admiration for machines, Rickenbacker taught himself as much as he could, including enrolling in a correspondence course in engineering. He aggressively pursued any chance of involvement with automobiles. Rickenbacker went to work at the Columbus Buggy Company, eventually becoming a salesman.

World War I

Pre-U.S. entry

Rickenbacker wanted to join the Allied troops in World War I, but the U.S. had not yet entered the war. He had several chance encounters with aviators, including a fortuitous incident in which he repaired a stranded aircraft for T. F. Dodd, a man who later became General John J. Pershing's aviation officer and an important contact in Rickenbacker's attempt to join air combat.

During World War I, with its anti-German atmosphere, he – like many other German Americans – changed his surname; the "h" in "Rickenbacher" became a "k" in an effort to "take the Hun out of his name." As he was already well known at the time, the change received wide publicity. "From then on", as he wrote in his autobiography, "most Rickenbachers were practically forced to spell their name in the way I had..."

He believed his given name "looked a little plain." He signed his name 26 times, with a different middle initial each time. After settling upon "V", he selected "Vernon" as a middle name.

In 1916, Rickenbacker traveled to Londonmarker, with the aim of developing an English car for American races. Because of an erroneous press story and Rickenbacker's known Swiss heritage, he was suspected of being a spy. En route and in England, agents closely monitored his actions.

On a sea voyage back to America, he came up with the idea to recruit his race car driver friends as fighter pilots, on the theory that such men were accustomed to tight spaces and high speeds. His suggestion was ignored by the military.

Army service

When, in 1917, the United States declared war on Germanymarker, Rickenbacker had enlisted in the United States Army and was training in Francemarker with some of the first American troops. He arrived in France on June 26, 1917 as a Sergeant First Class.

Most men chosen for pilot training had degrees from prestigious colleges, and Rickenbacker had to struggle to gain permission to fly because of his perceived lack of qualifications. Because of his mechanical abilities, Rickenbacker was assigned as engineering officer in a flight-training facility at Issoudunmarker, where he practiced flying during his free time. He learned to fly well, but because his skills were so highly valued, Rickenbacker's superiors tried to prevent him from attaining his wings with the other pilots.

Rickenbacker demonstrated that he had a qualified replacement, and the military awarded him a place in one of America's air combat units, the 94th Aero Squadron, informally known as the "Hat-in-the-Ring" Squadron after its insignia. Originally he flew the Nieuport 28, at first without armament. On April 29, 1918, Rickenbacker shot down his first plane and claimed his fifth to become an ace on May 28. Rickenbacker was awarded the French Croix de Guerre that month for his five victories.

Video clip of Rickenbacker conducting a bombing run over German lines

On May 30, he scored his sixth victory. It would be his last for three and a half months. He developed an ear infection in July which almost ended his flying career and grounded him for several weeks. He shot down Germany's hottest new fighter, the Fokker D.VII, on September 14 and another the next day.

On September 24, 1918, now a captain, he was named commander of the squadron, and on the following day, he claimed two more German planes, for which he was belatedly awarded the Medal of Honor in 1931 by President Herbert Hoover. After claiming yet another Fokker D.VII on September 27, he became a balloon buster by downing observation balloons on September 28, October 1, October 27, and October 30, 1918.

Thirteen more wins followed in October, bringing his total to thirteen Fokker D.VIIs, four other German fighters, five highly defended observation balloons, and only four of the easier two-seated reconnaissance planes.

The military determined ace status by verifying combat claims by a pilot; confirmation was needed from ground witnesses, affirmations of other pilots, or observation of the wreckage of the opposing enemy aircraft. If no witnesses could be found, a reported kill was not counted. It was an imperfect system, dependent on the frailties of human observation, as well as vagaries of weather and terrain. Most aces records are thus best estimates, not exact counts. Nevertheless, Rickenbacker's 26 victories remained the American record until World War II.

Rickenbacker flew a total of 300 combat hours, reportedly more than any other U.S. pilot in the war.

When Rickenbacker learned of the Armistice, he flew an airplane above the western front to observe the cease fire and the displays of joy and comradeship as the formerly warring troops crossed the front lines and joined in celebration.

Verified aerial victories

Number Date Time Aircraft Opponent Location
1 1810 Pfalz D.III Baussant
2 0805 Pfalz D.III Pont-à-Moussonmarker
3 1824 Albatros D.V Ribécourt
4 0912 Albatros D.V Flirey
5 0925 Albatros C.I Bois de Rate
6 0738 Albatros C.I Jaulny
7 0815 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Villecy
8 0810 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Bois de Warville
9 0840 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Billy
10 0850 SPAD XIII Halberstadt C Foret de Spincourt
11 0600 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Damvillers
12 0500 SPAD XIII Balloon Sivry-sur-Meuse
13 1930 SPAD XIII Balloon Puzieux
14 1730 SPAD XIII Hannover CL Montfaucon
15 1740 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Vilosnes
16 1707 SPAD XIII Balloon Dannevouxmarker
17 1640 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Cléry-le-Grandmarker
18 1752 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Dun-sur-Meusemarker
19 1552 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Cléry-le-Petitmarker
20 1552 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Cléry-le-Petit
21 1555 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Cléry-le-Petit
22 1655 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Grande Carne Ferme
23 1505 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Bois de Money
24 1450 SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Grand Pre
25 1635 SPAD XIII Balloon St. Juvin
26 1040 SPAD XIII Balloon Remonville

Between the wars

After World War I ended, Rickenbacker was approached for publicity exploits. He chose to go on a Liberty bond tour. He was offered many movie positions, but did not want all the attention, even though he was the most celebrated aviator in America (soon to be supplanted by Charles Lindbergh after his solo flight across the Atlantic). Rickenbacker described his World War I flying experiences in his memoirs, Fighting the Flying Circus, published after the war. In this book, he also describes the character, exploits, and death of fellow pilot Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, the son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1925, Rickenbacker was a defense witness, along with Hap Arnold, Tooey Spaatz, Ira Eaker, and Fiorello H. La Guardia, in the court-martial of General Billy Mitchell.


In 1922, Rickenbacker married Adelaide Frost Durant; their marriage lasted for the rest of his life. Although they spent considerable time in Floridamarker, Texasmarker and Ohiomarker, the Rickenbackers lived chiefly in New York Citymarker. They adopted two boys: David Edward, in 1925, and William Frost, in 1928. Adelaide was an unconventional wife for the times: she was five years older than her husband, had been previously married, and was outspoken and active. As independent as she was, Adelaide fully supported Rickenbacker's endeavors until his death in 1973.

Rickenbacker automobile

He started the Rickenbacker Motor Company in 1920, selling technologically advanced cars incorporating innovations from automobile racing. The Rickenbacker came equipped with the first four-wheel brake system. Probably due to bad publicity from the other car manufacturers, who feared they would be unable to sell their inventory of cars with two-wheel braking, the company had trouble selling its cars and eventually went bankrupt in 1927. Rickenbacker went into massive debt, but was determined to pay back all of the $250,000 he owed, despite personally going bankrupt (and therefore no longer being legally obligated to do so). Eventually, all vehicles manufactured in the U.S. incorporated four-wheel braking.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

On November 1, 1927, Rickenbacker bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedwaymarker, which he operated for nearly a decade and a half, overseeing many improvements to the facility.Once Speedway operations were under control, Rickenbacker looked for additional opportunities for entrepreneurship, including sales for the Cadillac division of General Motors and various aircraft manufacturers and airlines.

After the 1941 race, he closed the Speedway due to World War II. In 1945, Rickenbacker sold it to Terre Haute, Indianamarker businessman Anton Hulman, Jr.marker

Clashes with President Roosevelt

Rickenbacker was adamantly opposed to President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies, seeing them as little better than socialism. For this, he drew criticism and ire from the press and the Roosevelt administration, which ordered NBC Radio not to allow him to broadcast opinions critical of Roosevelt's policies after Rickenbacker had harshly denounced the president's decision to rescind existing mail contracts in 1934 and have Army Air Corps pilots carry the air mail. At the time, Rickenbacker was vice president of one of the companies affected, Eastern Air Transport. When a number of inexperienced, undertrained army pilots were killed in crashes soon afterward, Rickenbacker stated, "That's legalized murder!"

Eastern Air Lines

Rickenbacker's most lasting business endeavor was his longtime leadership of Eastern Air Lines. Through the 1920s, he had worked with and for General Motors (GM): first as the California distributor for its new car, the short-lived Sheridan, then later as a marketer for the LaSalle, and finally as vice president of sales for their affiliate, Fokker Aircraft Company. He persuaded GM to purchase North American Aviation, a conglomerate whose assets included Eastern Air Transport. GM asked him to manage Eastern, starting in 1935. With the help of friends, he combined Eastern Air Transport with Florida Airways to form Eastern Air Lines, an airline that eventually grew from a company flying a few thousand air miles per week into a major international transportation company. In April 1938, after learning that GM was considering selling Eastern to John D. Hertz, Rickenbacker met with GM's Chairman of the Board, Alfred P. Sloan, and bought the company for $3.5 million.

Rickenbacker oversaw many radical changes in the field of commercial aviation. He negotiated with the U.S. government to acquire air mail routes, a great advantage to companies in need of business. He helped develop and support new aircraft designs. Rickenbacker acquired historic aircraft for Eastern, including the Lockheed Constellation commissioned by Howard Hughes for Trans World Airlines. Rickenbacker personally collaborated with many of the pioneers of aviation, including Donald Wills Douglas, Sr., founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company that later became McDonnell Douglas.

He promoted flying to the American public, but, always aware of the possibility of accidents, he wrote in his autobiography, "I have never liked to use the word "safe" in connection with either Eastern Air Lines or the entire transportation field; I prefer the word 'reliable'."

Near-fatal crash

Rickenbacker often traveled for business on Eastern Airlines flights. On February 26, 1941, he was a passenger on a DC-3 which crashed outside Atlanta, Georgiamarker. Rickenbacker suffered grave injuries, was soaked in fuel, and was immobile and trapped in the wreckage. In spite of his own critical wounds, Rickenbacker encouraged the uninjured passengers, offered what consolation he could to those around him who were injured or dying, and guided the still-mobile survivors to attempt to find help. They were rescued after spending the night at the crash site. Rickenbacker barely survived. This was the first time the press announced his death while he was still alive.

In a dramatic retelling of the incident, Rickenbacker's autobiography relates his astonishing experiences. While still conscious but in terrible pain, Rickenbacker was left behind while ambulances transported bodies of those killed. When he arrived at a hospital, his injuries appeared so grotesque that doctors left him for dead for some time, instructing staff to "take care of the live ones." Rickenbacker's injuries included a dented skull, other head injuries, shattered left elbow and crushed nerve, paralyzed left hand, several broken ribs, a crushed hip socket, twice-broken pelvis, severed nerve in his left hip, and a broken left knee. His left eyeball was expelled from the socket. He recovered from these after months in the hospital and regained full eyesight.

Rickenbacker described the experience with vivid accounts of his mental state as he approached death, emphasizing the supreme act of will necessary to stave it off. His autobiography reported that he spent ten days on the brink of death, which he illustrated as an overwhelming sensation of calm and pleasure.

Ace Drummond

Rickenbacker also scripted a popular comic strip called Ace Drummond from 1935-1940. He worked with aviation artist and author Clayton Knight, who illustrated the series. The strip followed the adventures of aviator Drummond. It was later adapted into a film serial and radio program.

World War II

Rickenbacker supported the war effort as a civilian. In 1942, he toured training bases in the southwestern United States and in England. He encouraged the American public to contribute time and resources, and pledged Eastern Airlines equipment and personnel for use in military activities.

Rickenbacker inspected troops, operations, and equipment, and served in a publicity function to increase support from civilians and soldiers. In 1942, with a sweeping letter of authorization from Henry L. Stimson, U.S. Secretary of War, Rickenbacker visited England on an official war mission and made ground-breaking recommendations for better war operations.

Adrift at sea

One of Rickenbacker's most famous near-death experiences occurred in October 1942. He was sent on a tour of the Pacific theater to review conditions and operations, and to personally deliver a secret message to General Douglas MacArthur. After visiting bases in Hawaiimarker, the B-17, 40-3089, in which he was flying went hundreds of miles off course from its first scheduled stop at Canton Islandmarker. The navigation failure was due to an out-of-true octant which introduced bias in the navigation calculations. The octant had suffered a severe shock in a pre-takeoff incident. This accident spurred the development of improved navigation tools and survival gear for aircraft. The pilots were forced to ditch the plane in the Pacific Oceanmarker, dangerously close to Japanesemarker-held enemy territory.

For 24 days, Rickenbacker, Hans Adamson, his friend and business partner, and the crew drifted at sea. Rickenbacker was still suffering from his prior airplane crash, Adamson sustained serious injuries in the water landing, and others in the crew were hurt to varying degrees. The crew's food supply ran out after three days. On the eighth day, a seagull landed on Rickenbacker's head. He painstakingly captured it, and the survivors meticulously divided it equally and used part of it for fishing bait. They lived on sporadic rain water and similar food "miracles". Rickenbacker assumed leadership, encouraging and browbeating the others to keep their spirits up. He encouraged them to turn to Christianity for solace using Psalm . One serviceman died and was buried at sea. The U.S. Army Air Forces intended to abandon the search for the lost crew after more than two weeks, but Rickenbacker's wife convinced them to extend it for another week. Once again, the press reported that Rickenbacker had died.

Navy pilots rescued the surviving members of the crew on November 13, 1942, off the coast of Nukufetaumarker near Samoamarker. The men were suffering from exposure, dehydration, and starvation. Rickenbacker completed his assignment and delivered his message to MacArthur, which has never been made public.

Rickenbacker initially thought that he had been lost for 21 days, and wrote a book about the experience titled Seven Came Through, published by Doubleday, Doran. It was not until later that he recalculated and corrected himself in his 1967 autobiography.

Rickenbacker's ordeal was used as an example for Alcoholics Anonymous when the first of their Twelve Traditions was formulated: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity."

1943 mission to the USSR

Still determined to support the U.S. war effort, Rickenbacker suggested a fact-finding mission in the Soviet Unionmarker to provide the Soviets with needed technical assistance for their American aircraft. Rickenbacker approached Soviet diplomats, and avoided requesting help from President Franklin Roosevelt, due to their prior disagreements. With the help of the Secretary of War and by trading favors with the Soviet ambassador, Rickenbacker secured unlikely permission to travel to the Soviet Union. The War Department provided everything Rickenbacker needed, including a highly unusual letter stating that the bearer was authorized to "visit ... any ... areas he may deem necessary for such purposes as he will explain to you in person", signed by the Secretary of War.

Rickenbacker's trip took him over South America, where he made observations about the conditions there. He stopped in Africa, Chinamarker and Indiamarker, at each stop reviewing American operations and making notes to report to authorities. In Iranmarker, Rickenbacker offered to bring along an American officer, whose unapproved request to travel to the Soviet Union delayed Rickenbacker's party for a few days.

In the Soviet Union, Rickenbacker observed wartime conditions, the extraordinary dedication and patriotism by the populace, and the ruthless denial of food to those deemed unproductive to the war effort. He befriended many Soviet officials and shared his knowledge of the aircraft they had received from the United States. He was lavishly entertained and recalled attempts by KGBmarker agents and officials to get him intoxicated enough to disclose sensitive information.

Rickenbacker's mission was successful. He discovered that a commander of Moscowmarker's defense had stayed at Rickenbacker's home in 1937, and personal connections like this and the respect the Soviet military personnel had for him greatly aided his information-gathering. He learned about Soviet defense strategies and capabilities. In the distraction resulting from the outbreak of the Battle of Kurskmarker, he saw a map of the front line showing the locations of all major Soviet military units, which he did his best to memorize. He also persuaded his hosts to give him an unprecedented tour of the Shturmovik aircraft factory. But it was comments made by Rickenbacker during his trip that alerted the Soviets to the existence of the secret B-29 Superfortress program.

Rickenbacker observed some traces of capitalism (for example, people were allowed to grow food and sell their surplus) and predicted that the Soviet Union would eventually become a capitalist nation.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill interviewed Rickenbacker about his mission. In the U.S., Rickenbacker's information resulted in some diplomatic and military action, but President Roosevelt did not meet with Rickenbacker.

Later life

Although his primary residence was in New York City, for many years, Rickenbacker had a winter home in Coconut Grove, Floridamarker near the Eastern Airlines facilities at Miami International Airportmarker. For a time, Eastern was the most profitable airline in the post-war era. In the late 1950s though, Eastern's fortunes changed, and Rickenbacker was forced out of his CEO position on October 1, 1959. He resigned as chairman of the board on December 31, 1963, at the age of 73. He and Adelaide then traveled extensively.

In the 1960s, Rickenbacker became a well-known speaker. He shared his vision for the future of technology and commerce, exhorted Americans to respect the enemy (the Soviet Union) during the Cold War, yet uphold American values, and endorsed conservative ideals.

In 1967, when he published his autobiography, a special edition was printed for employees of Eastern Air Lines which contained the following dedication:

To the Men and Women of Eastern Air Lines
It is with pleasure and pride that I inscribe to you this copy of my life story from the time I was three years of age.

You will find therein the source of those principles I used to preach; and if they can help you avoid even a few of the keen disappointments and bitter heartaches that I have lived through, then I will feel well repaid for my efforts.

From these principles and our labors together emerged one of our country's great airlines and further developed our great heritage of pioneering. In the years ahead young, strong hands will carry them into a future which you and I, with all our dreams, can scarcely visualize---that "Parade of Youth" which always was and always will be the true spirit of Eastern Air Lines.

(signed) Capt Eddie Rickenbacker

Rickenbacker had a stroke while in Switzerlandmarker seeking medical treatment for Adelaide and contracted pneumonia. He died on July 23, 1973 in Zürichmarker, and his body was buried in Columbus, Ohiomarker at Green Lawn Cemeterymarker.

In 1977, at the age of 92, Adelaide being completely blind, in failing health and severely grieving the loss of her husband, shot herself at her home on Key Biscayne, Floridamarker.

Honors and awards

Military Awards

United States Aviator Badge
Medal of Honor Distinguished Service Cross World War I Victory Medal Croix de guerre

Medal of Honor citation

Edward V.
Rickenbacker, Colonel, specialist reserve, then first lieutenant, 94th Aero Squadron, Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy near Billy, France, 25 September 1918.
While on a voluntary patrol over the lines Lieutenant.
Rickenbacker attacked seven enemy planes (five type Fokker protecting two type Halberstadt photographic planes).
Disregarding the odds against him he dived on them and shot down one of the Fokkers out of control.
He then attacked one of the Halberstadts and sent it down also.

Medal of Honor citation, awarded 6 November 1930

First Distinguished Service Cross citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Captain (Air Service), U.S.
Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Montsec, France, April 29, 1918.
Captain Rickenbacker attacked an enemy Albatross monoplane, and after a vigorous fight in which he followed his foe into German territory, he succeeded in shooting it down near Vigneulles-les-Hatton Chatel.

General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919

Second Distinguished Service Cross citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Captain (Air Service), U.S . for extraordinary heroism in action over Richecourt, France, on May 17, 1918.
Captain Rickenbacker attacked three Albatross enemy planes, shooting one down in the vicinity of Richecourt, France, and forcing the others to retreat over their own lines.

General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919

Third Distinguished Service Cross citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Captain (Air Service), U.S.
Army, for extraordinary heroism in action over St. Mihiel, France, on May 22, 1918.
Captain Rickenbacker attacked three Albatross monoplanes 4,000 meters over St. Mihiel, France.
He drove them back into German territory, separated one from the group, and shot it down near Flirey.

General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919

Fourth Distinguished Service Cross citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Captain (Air Service), U.S.
Army, for extraordinary heroism in action over Boise Rate, France, on May 28, 1918.
Captain Rickenbacker sighted a group of two battle planes and four monoplanes, German planes, which he at once attacked vigorously, shooting down one and dispersing the others.

General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919

Fifth Distinguished Service Cross citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Captain (Air Service), U.S.
Army, for extraordinary heroism in action on May 30, 1918, 4,000 meters over Jaulny, France.
Captain Rickenbacker attacked a group of five enemy planes.
After a violent battle, he shot down one plane and drove the others away.

General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919

Sixth Distinguished Service Cross citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Captain (Air Service), U.S.
Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Villecy, France, September 14, 1918.
Captain Rickenbacker attacked four Fokker enemy planes at an altitude of 3,000 meters.
After a sharp and hot action, he succeeded in shooting one down in flames and dispersing the other three.

General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919

Seventh Distinguished Service Cross citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edward Vernon Rickenbacker, Captain (Air Service), U.S.
Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Bois-de-Wavrille, France, September 15, 1918.
Captain Rickenbacker encountered six enemy planes, who were in the act of attacking four Spads, which were below them.
Undeterred by their superior numbers, he unhesitatingly attacked them and succeeded in shooting one down in flames and completely breaking the formation of the others.

General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919


Rickenbacker was inducted into various halls of fame including the National Aviation Hall of Famemarker in 1965, the International Motorsports Hall of Famemarker in 1992, the National Sprint Car Hall of Famemarker in 1992 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1994.

He also received the Tony Jannus Award in 1967 for his contributions to scheduled commercial aviation.

What is now Dobbins Air Reserve Basemarker was originally called Rickenbacker Field in his honor when it opened in 1941. In November 1947, a four mile (6 km) causeway was completed, linking Miamimarker on the mainland of Florida with Crandon Park on the island of Key Biscaynemarker. The road was named Rickenbacker Causeway in his honor. In 1974, Lockbourne Air Force Base in his home town of Columbus was renamed Rickenbacker Air Force Basemarker. It shares an airfield with Rickenbacker International Airportmarker.

The Rickenbacker award is the Civil Air Patrol cadet achievement equivalent to an Active Duty Air Force Technical Sergeant. Cadets awarded the Rickenbacker achievement are promoted to C/TSgt.

The United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp in honor of Rickenbacker's accomplishments as an aviation pioneer in 1995.

Cultural references

In his comic strip Li'l Abner, Al Capp included an airplane pilot modeled on Rickenbacker: Cap'n Eddie Ricketyback.

Eddie Rickenbacker appears in the computer game Red Baron as one of the Allied aces. In the 1999 game System Shock 2, a military spaceship is named the UNN Rickenbacker. Wings of War: Famous Aces features Rickenbacker's Spad XIII. He also appears in the WWI simulation game Rise of flight as an instructor.

In the 2007 movie The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Billy Mitchell compares Eddie Rickenbacker with the Red Baron to illustrate his own dominance of competitive video game playing, stating "There's a level of difference between some people."

In 2009, musician Todd Snider wrote a song called "Money, Compliments, and Publicity," which revolves around a statement Rickenbacker made indicating that the pinnacle of success is when you lose interest in money, compliments, and publicity.

Rickenbacker Guitars

Eddie was a cousin of Adolph Rickenbacker, co-founder of Rickenbacker Guitars. The company name was purposely chosen for the association with Eddie Rickenbacker.

See also


  1. Rickenbacker, p. 115.
  2. Rickenbacker, p. 66.
  3. Rickenbacker, p. 186.
  4. Rickenbacker, p. 144.
  5. Rickenbacker, p. 162.
  6. Rickenbacker, p. 178.
  7. Rickenbacker, p. 440.
  8. Rickenbacker, p. 261.
  9. Rickenbacker, p. 275.
  10. Rickenbacker, p. 273.
  11. Rickenbacker, p. 278.
  12. Alcoholics Anonymous (2002-02-10). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Hazelden. ISBN 0916856011. OCLC 13572433.
  13. Rickenbacker, p. 390.
  14. Rickenbacker, p. 376.
  15. Rickenbacker, p. 425.
  16. Rickenbacker, p. 438.
  17. Retrieved on 2007-12-23.


  • Adamson, Hans Christian, Eddie Rickenbacker, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1946.
  • Farr, Finis, Rickenbacker's Luck - An American Life, Houghton-Mifflin Company, Boston, 1979, ISBN 0-395-27102-9.
  • Lewis, W. David, Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the Twentieth Century, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2005.
  • Rickenbacker, Captain Edward V., Seven Came Through, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1943.
  • Rickenbacker, Edward V., Rickenbacker: an Autobiography, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1967.
  • Serling, Robert J., From the Captain to the Colonel; An Informal History of Eastern Airlines, The Dial Press, New York, 1980.
  • Whittaker, James C., We Thought We Heard the Angels Sing, E. P. Dutton, New York, 1943. An account of the adrift at sea experience by another member of the crew.

External links

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