Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Charles A. Lindberg, Jr. (1902-1974)
In 1924, Lindbergh enlisted in the United States Army so he could be trained as an Army Air Service Reserve pilot. In 1925, he completed his training, earned his wings, and was recognized as the best pilot in his class.
In 1927, Lindbergh (now 25 years old) made the first-ever, solo-nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, doing so in 33 1/2 hours. It was a stunning feat of technology that earned him the $25,000 Orteig prize (about $325K in today’s dollars) and international fame. Charles A. Lindbergh was the first true American celebrity – at the time, easily the most famous living person on earth. He is a bona fide American hero in the truest sense of the word (not how the term is misused today, often for some high-paid athlete who plays ball games).
In 1928, while a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve he became a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In 1941, as a leader in the anti-war (America First) movement he resigned his Army Air Corps Colonel's commission – a move that he later regretted after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and especially after FDR refused to reinstate his commission so he could take on an active military role.
In 1942, he went to work for Henry Ford at his Willow Run B-24 bomber factory. This lead him to become an outspoken supporter of women in the workforce after experiencing first-hand their contributions to the war effort in the factories during WWII.
In 1943-45, now in his 40s, he acted as a technical observer / aviation consultant for the United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies) to study the successes of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters on the Japanese Front. Lindbergh developed special cruise-control techniques, flew over 50 missions in the Pacific Theater as a civilian, and was credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft. (In the wartime photo Lindbergh is 2nd from left).
In 1954, because of his longtime service to governmental agencies Lindbergh was re-commissioned in the Air Force Reserve and appointed a Brigadier General by President Eisenhower.
In 1965, he helped design the Carrel-Lindbergh perfusion pump (this breakthrough pump is the precursor of what is used in organ transplant surgery to this day) for the Naval Medical Research Institute.
Charles A. Lindbergh was an American hero who served his country loyally and “well beyond his pay grade”, and will go down in history as one of the most brilliant people of the 20th Century (albeit, not devoid of tragedy nor beyond criticism). His Ryan NYP “Spirit of St. Louis” airplane is the #1 most-popular exhibit at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.