Eaker, Ira C. | 1977
- Birth and Death Year | 1896-1987
- Induction Year | 1977
- Profession | Military
- Oklahoma Connection | Eaker was a 1917 graduate of Southeastern Normal School (now Southeastern Oklahoma State University) in Durant, Oklahoma.
- Hometown | Durant
In 1930, Gen. Ira Eaker became the first person to fly coast to coast with aerial refueling and was instrumental in the creation of the Air Force as a separate branch of the military service.
“Honored for sixty years of significant public service to aviation as a pioneer flyer, military leader, industrial executive and persuasive interpreter.” - Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, 1977
Ira Clarence Eaker was born in Texas and graduated from Southeastern Normal School (now Southeastern Oklahoma State University) with a degree in Journalism. He enrolled in the first officer training camp in 1917 and ultimately was named Lieutenant General in 1943. He was a noted pioneer and innovator in the importance of equipment and training in aviation and commanded several crucial battles and campaigns during World War II. He devised and developed in-dash flight refueling of war planes and originated the art of shuttle bombing while in Italy, Russia and Germany. He was Commander of the 8th Air Force and was named Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces in 1944, Deputy Commander of the Army Air Force and served as Chief of Air Staff from 1945 to 1947. He also earned numerous military decorations from twelve nations. He was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in Ohio in 1970.