Reaching Up, Not Down
by David Sims
CHUCK YEAGER has died at the age of 97. He was from West Virginia, the state where I live. He was an Air Force ace and test pilot. He was also the first man to break the sound barrier in the experimental aircraft X-1. He risked his life for his country many times, both in combat and otherwise. He was a true American hero.
Soon after Yeager’s death, however, the rabid anti-White left began spitting on his reputation. Why? Because while he was in charge of an astronaut training program, he didn’t reach down far enough to include a certain Black applicant as a member of the US astronaut team at NASA. Why not? Because that Black man, Ed Dwight, wasn’t qualified enough to be competitive for that role.
But the leftists are trying, now, to rewrite history and put undeserved blame on Chuck Yeager.
Former US President John F. Kennedy used manned spaceflight as a means of garnering goody points as a “civil rights” leader. That’s the source of the pressure that was brought to bear on the Air Force in general, and on Yeager in particular, to find a Negro who could be one of NASA’s astronauts.
The nearest the Air Force could come to such a person was Ed Dwight. Dwight’s academic skills were poor. He did not have an engineering background. His school grades were low. But he had already been Affirmative-Actioned into the rank of captain, and he could, somewhat, fly certain military aircraft. There were other Air Force pilots who could fly fighter jets much more skillfully than Ed Dwight could. But none of them were Black, so they could not be used to satisfy President Kennedy’s demand for a Black astronaut.
The story of how Ed Dwight got shoehorned into the NASA astronaut program, where he got special tutoring that none of the other astronaut trainees got, and where he barely squeaked by despite this special tutoring to graduate at the very bottom of his class (26th of 26 trainees), is related in in the book Whitey on the Moon, by Paul Kersey, in the sections entitled “The Wrong Stuff — the Ed Dwight Story: John F. Kennedy’s Crusade to Find and Promote a ‘Negro Astronaut'” and “Yeager Bombed Ed Dwight.”
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