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Because of You...
Download the digital edition
Download your free digital copy of Because of You...Letters of Gratitude from the 2012 Class of Daniels Scholars to the Defenders of American Freedom, a collection of heartfelt letters of thanks and support from the 2012 Class of Daniels Scholars to America’s bravest heroes — veterans wounded in the service of our nation.
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THERE'S NO OTHER WAY TO SAY IT — the man is a living legend. To this day the World War II fighter pilot, who performed a flight demonstration for Orville Wright and counted Charles Lindbergh and Neil Armstrong among his friends, is still considered an unequaled "stick and rudder man" and quite simply, the best pilot in the world.
Bob Hoover's story would make the perfect Hollywood summer blockbuster...once they dialed the real-life action down a notch or two. While one may assume your last name would have to be "Bond" or "Skywalker" to live this kind of life, the details of Bob's extraordinary adventures are all 100% true.
During World War II, Bob found himself in a German prisoner of war camp. He escaped after sixteen months, stole a German Fw-190 fighter, and took to the sky. Imagine the skill required to first fly free from his captors, and then make it to the ground while flying toward American forces in an enemy aircraft!
It's astounding to learn that the same pilot who once performed a flight demonstration for Orville Wright was also the backup and chase pilot for Chuck Yeager as he famously shattered the sound barrier. It could just have easily been Bob at the controls — Chuck said Bob was the greatest pilot he had ever seen — but Chuck said he was "feeling up to it" that day. Bob's endless list of friends includes Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, Neil Armstrong, and Jimmy Doolittle, to name just a few.
On countless occasions, Bob convinced planes to perform in ways other pilots couldn't (and just about everyone else dismissed as impossible). He was a test pilot for nearly every military aircraft in development during the evolution of the jet age, and his input resulted in critical improvements too numerous to count.
There were some tense moments, to be sure. Following an ejection at 30,000 feet, Bob landed 25 miles from where is ground crew was expecting him. He endured two broken legs until he was finally found — two days later!
These are but a few of the chapters of Bob's extraordinary life. He recalls the details as if they had occurred yesterday. It becomes quickly apparent that this gentleman possesses knowledge about planes that simply does not exist in any other human being. Frankly, it's what kept him alive in so many situations that others did not survive.
It was on the occasion of Bob Hoover's 90th birthday celebration that he was presented with a copy of Because of You...Letters of Gratitude from the 2012 Class of Daniels Scholars to the Defenders of American Freedom. Scott Southworth — Bob's host and Assistant Vice President of Employer & Scholar Alumni Relations for the Daniels Fund — was honored to share the booklet with a man he describes as "a national treasure".
As Bob read through the book's opening pages, he took great interest in Bill Daniels' days as a Navy fighter pilot. Bob was moved as he reviewed the first several personal letters written to wounded veterans by newly named Daniels Scholars.
"It's a wonderful thing that you are all doing with these young people," he offered. "I look forward to reading these letters. This means a lot."
It is a great honor for all of us at the Daniels Fund to be able to share these heartfelt messages with the men and women who represent the very best among us.