Find a Member:

1956 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Edward V. Rickenbacker*

Chairman of the Board and President
Eastern Airlines

"Whatever you choose to do in life, give it your all."

Eddie Rickenbacker was born in 1891 in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Swiss immigrants. His father died when he was 13, forcing him to leave school. He studied mechanical engineering and drafting at the International Correspondence Schools. In his teens, he worked as an automobile mechanic and then became an auto racing driver. When World War I broke out, he was at the height of his racing career. He enlisted as a sergeant in the U. S. Army and served with the 94th Aero Squadron. By the end of the war, he was credited with downing 26 enemy planes, which earned him the title "Ace of Aces." After the war, Rickenbacker started an automobile company. His car, the Rickenbacker, came equipped with the first four-wheel brake system. In 1927, he bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the late 1920s, he helped form Eastern Air Lines, which for a time was the most profitable airline in the country.

* Deceased