Major General Marion Carl
Credited with 11.5 kills by the end of the Guadalcanal battle, Carl later said, these kills “made me an ace, the first in Marine Corps history, but that thought didn’t occur to me at the time – we were far too busy and more concerned with our losses.”
After World War II, Carl became a U.S. Navy test pilot, setting a world speed record of 651 miles per hour on August 25, 1947. Later that year, Chuck Yeager broke the record with Mach 1 (700 mph). In 1953, Carl set the world altitude record of 83,235 feet, and two years later, he flew U-2 photoreconnaissance missions over China. Returning to combat during the Vietnam War, Major General Marion Carl commanded the 2nd Marine Air Wing. Retiring in 1973 with a record of 18.5 aerial victories, Carl was among the first Marines to fly a helicopter and the first Marine to land a jet on an aircraft carrier. He was also the first military advisor to wear a full pressure suit. He logged 13,000 flying hours in aircraft, from biplanes, seaplanes, and helicopters to jet and rocket-powered experimental models during his career. Awarded the Navy Cross with two Gold Stars, Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars, Distinguished Flying Cross with four Gold Stars, and Air Medal with thirteen Gold Stars, Carl died while protecting his wife from an intruder in their home on June 28, 1998.