Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr.

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Iven C. Kincheloe Jr.
Iven Kincheloe photo portrait head and shoulders.jpg
USAF Astronaut
Nationality American
Born Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr.
(1928-07-02)July 2, 1928
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died July 26, 1958(1958-07-26) (aged 30)
Edwards Air Force Base, California, U.S.
Other occupation
Test pilot
Purdue University, B.S. 1949
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Selection 1957 MISS Group
Awards Silver Star ribbon-3d.svg Silver Star
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal (4)

Iven Carl "Kinch" Kincheloe Jr.[1] (July 2, 1928[2] – July 26, 1958[3]), (Capt, USAF), was an American test pilot, recipient of the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, aeronautical engineer, and an ace in the Korean War.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Kincheloe was born July 2, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan but grew up in Cassopolis, Michigan. He was the only child of Iven C. Kincheloe Sr. (1894–1966) and Frances Wilder Kincheloe.[4] He was interested in aircraft from a very young age. Following his high school graduation in 1945, he attended Purdue University. He joined the ROTC, was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon-Indiana Alpha fraternity, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1949. In the summer of 1948, the ROTC cadet was able to meet Chuck Yeager and sit in the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

Korean War[edit]

After graduating in 1949, Kincheloe received his commission in the U.S. Air Force. After receiving his pilot wings in August 1950, he spent a year as a test pilot flying the F-86E at Edwards Air Force Base, California before being promoted to first lieutenant and transferred to Korea in September 1951. During the war, he flew F-80s on 30 combat missions and F-86s on 101 combat missions, downing five MiG-15s (becoming an ace and earning the Silver Star) before returning to the U.S. in May 1952. At this time, he had reached the rank of captain.

Post-war career[edit]

After the war, first he worked as a gunnery instructor at the Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Then, he again became a test pilot, graduating in December 1954 from the Empire Test Pilots' School at Farnborough, England. He participated in the testing of the Century Series of fighter aircraft (F-100 Super Sabre, F-101 Voodoo, F-102 Delta Dagger, F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief, and F-106 Delta Dart). In the mid-1950s, Kincheloe joined the Bell X-2 program and on September 7, 1956,[5] flew at more than 2,000 mph (3,200 km/h) and to a height of 126,200 feet (38,500 m)[2][5] (some sources list 126,500[3]), the first flight ever above 100,000 feet. For this he was nicknamed "America's No. 1 Spaceman". The X-2 program was halted just three weeks later after a fatal crash resulted in the death of Mel Apt in a flight in which Apt became the first person to exceed Mach 3. Three years later, Kincheloe was selected as one of the first three pilots in the next rocket-powered aircraft program, the X-15, and would have been part of the Man In Space Soonest project.

He was killed in the crash of an F-104A at Edwards AFB, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.[6] He was only 30 years old and was survived by wife, Dorothy, their young son, Iven, III, and a daughter who was born two months later, Jeannine.[7]



Senior Pilot USAF Wings.svg  Senior pilot badge

Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Presidential Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Longevity Service Award with oak leaf cluster

Presidential Unit Citation (Korea).svg  Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

United Nations Korea Medal ribbon.svg  United Nations Korea Medal

Korean War Service Medal ribbon.svg  Korean War Service Medal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr. is on his grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery.
    However, his first name is sometimes spelled Ivan.
    Bryan, C. D. B. (1979-09-23). "The Right Stuff". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-04-02.  (The Right Stuff, however, consistently uses Iven).
    "Astronaut bio: Robert L. Crippen". NASA, Johnson Space Center. 1997. Retrieved 2006-04-02. 
  2. ^ a b Burns, Curtis A. (1975). "Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe Jr.". National Museum of the United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 2006-02-25. Retrieved 2006-04-02. 
  3. ^ a b c "Captain Iven C. Kincheloe Jr.". Air Force Link. Archived from the original on 2005-10-25. Retrieved 2006-04-02. 
  4. ^ Kincheloe's parents,
  5. ^ a b Chant, Christopher (1999). "The chronology of flight 1940 to [1999-03-25]". In Taylor, Michael J.H. The world's greatest aircraft. Hertfordshire: Regency House Publishing Ltd. p. 388. ISBN 1-85605-523-X. The Bell X-2 research aircraft is flown by Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe to an altitude of 126,200 ft (38,466m). 
  6. ^ "Eisenhower asks favor of the 1972-'76 president". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 18, 1958. p. 4. 
  7. ^ Kincheloe's family,
  8. ^ "50th Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony". National Aviation Hall of Fame website. Retrieved on 2011-07-23.
  9. ^ Mumford, Lou (2011-07-22). "An Honor Long Overdue". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 

External links[edit]