Rickenbacker was the American "Ace of Aces." He recorded 26 official victories against German aircraft during World War I and was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Between WWI and WWII, Rickenbacker bought and administered the Indianapolis Speedway and became president of Eastern Airlines. In October of 1942, he was aboard a B-17 bomber that crashed in the Pacific Ocean while on a secret mission to New Guinea. "Iron Man Eddie" and six companions survived 24 days afloat on life rafts.
In 1995, the United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp in honor of Rickenbacker's accomplishments as an aviation pioneer.
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
"For extraordinary heroism in action near Montsec, France, April 29, 1918. Lt. Rickenbacker attacked an enemy Albatros monoplane and after a vigorous fight, in which he followed his foe into German territory, he succeeded in shooting it down near Vigneulles-les-Hatten-Chatel." DSC citation
Medal of Honor
"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 November 6, 1930