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|Born||10 March 1908
Belaya Glina, Stavropol Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||29 April 1983
Anatoly Vasilyevich Liapidevsky (1908–1983) was a Soviet aircraft pilot and the first to be awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (in 1934). He reached the rank of Major-General of the Soviet Air Force. He was a graduate of the Soviet Air Force Academy.
He worked as a pilot with the Far Eastern department of the Civil Air Fleet. Liapidevsky took part in an aerial search and rescue operation for the crew of the steamship Cheliuskin, under extremely difficult conditions, after it was sunk in Arctic waters after February 13, 1934.
Together with six other pilots, Liapidevsky rescued 104 people from the wrecked freighter. The rescue operation took two months, as survivors waited to be rescued on ice floes. Liapidevsky made his first landing on one of the floes on March 5. It was a great feat of flying. Not only was the weather horrid but the floe was only 500 by 1,300 feet. Liapidevsky took from the floe with 12 women and children on board his plane. He flew the stranded "Cheliuskintsi" from their makeshift airstrip on the floating ice field of the Chukchi Sea to the town of Uelen. Liapidevsky was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union for this deed.
The heroics of the fliers in the Cheliuskin Rescue prompted the government to create the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. The title was first awarded to Anatoly Vasilyevich Liapidevsky, in June 1934. The title later became the Soviet Union's highest military honor.
- "Anatoly Lyapidevsky, Soviet Flier, Dies at 75". The New York Times. 5 May 1983. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
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