Retired March 1, 1973. Died Oct. 1, 2004.
Brig. Gen. Frank Kendall Everest Jr., is commander, Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, Military Airlift Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The organization provides a worldwide capability to search for, locate and recover personnel and aerospace hardware in support of U.S. Air Force and other Department of Defense aerospace operations.
General Everest was born in Fairmont, W.Va., in 1920. After he graduated from high school in 1931, he attended Fairmont State College for one year. He later studied engineering at West Virginia University to prepare himself for a flying career. He graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., in 1956.
He entered the U.S. Army Air Forces pilot training in November 1941, graduated and received a commission in July 1942. After P-40 aircraft training, he was sent to North Africa and flew 94 combat missions in Africa, Sicily and Italy. During that tour of duty he shot down two German aircraft and damaged another.
In May 1944 he was assigned to a fighter squadron at Venice, Fla., as an instructor. He asked for combat duty again and was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations where he commanded the 17th Fighter Squadron of the 5th Fighter Group at Chinkiang, China. He completed 67 combat missions and destroyed four Japanese aircraft before his plane was shot down by ground fire in May 1945. He was captured and remained a Japanese prisoner of war until the end of hostilities.
Following a rest leave, General Everest was assigned in February 1946 to the Flight Test Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as a test pilot. He took part in many experimental tests of the Bell X-1 and established an unofficial world altitude record of 73,000 feet.
In September 1951 he was transferred to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and became the chief Air Force test pilot as head of the Flight Test Operations Division. During his stay at Edwards, General Everest tested the X-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; XF-92 and YB-52. He also took part in test programs for the F-100, 101, 102, 104 and 105; the B-52, 57 and 66 aircraft. On Oct. 29, 1953, he established a world speed record of 755.149 mph in a YF-100.
General Everest test-flew the Bell X-1B to a speed of Mach 2.3 (2.3 times the speed of sound) in December 1954, making him the second fastest man in the world, Later flights in the Bell X-2 rocket plane established him as "the fastest man alive" when he attained a new unofficial speed record of 1,957 mph or Mach 2.9.
He was transferred to Hahn Air Base, Germany, in March 1957, as commander of the 461st Fighter Squadron of the 36th Fighter Wing. He was assigned to North Africa in July 1958 as a group commander and later became deputy for operations at Wheelus Air Base, Libya. He became director of operations, 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, England Air Force Base, La., in January 1961, upon returning to the United States.
General Everest next commanded the 4453d Combat Crew Training Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and in June 1964 he transferred with the wing to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. In May 1965 he was transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to become commander of the 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing.
In June 1966 General Everest became director of aerospace safety in the Office of the Deputy Inspector for Inspection and Safety, Norton Air Force Base, Calif. He was transferred to the Pentagon in January 1969 as assistant director (Operational Test and Evaluation), Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering.
General Everest assumed command of Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, of the Military Airlift Command, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., in April 1970.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and the Chinese Aviation Award. He is a command pilot with more than 9,000 flying hours and a graduate of the U.S. Army Parachutists School at Fort Benning, Ga.
In addition to these and other military honors, General Everest has been recognized repeatedly for his contributions to aerospace progress. He was chosen as one of 1955's "Ten Outstanding Young Men" by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. In 1956 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named him one of the nation's "Greatest Living Americans." A year later he was awarded both the Harmon Trophy and the Octave Chanute Trophy.
General Everest's hometown is Fairmont, W.Va.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective Nov. 1, 1965, with date of rank Oct. 29, 1965.