Rickenbacker, Edward Vernon (“Eddie”) (1890–1973), a United States aviator and America's top flying ace in World War I. He was born in Columbus, Ohio. Before the war Rickenbacker was widely known as an automobile racer. In 1917 he accompanied General Pershing to France as a staff driver and then was transferred to the 94th Aero Pursuit Squadron, becoming its commander. This unit, known from its insignia as the “Hat in Ring" Squadron, destroyed 69 enemy planes and balloons. Captain Rickenbacker was credited with 22 planes and 4 balloons. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Croix de Guerre, and the Legion d'Honneur.
After the war Rickenbacker was vice president of the Rickenbacker Motor Co., then entered the aviation industry. He became president of Eastern Air Lines in 1938 and was later its chairman, retiring in 1963. He owned the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 1927–45. During World War II Rickenbacker was an aviation adviser to the government. In 1942, while he was on a secret mission, his plane was shot down over the Pacific. He and six other men spent three weeks in life rafts before being rescued.
Rickenbacker wrote of his World War I experiences in Fighting the Flying Circus (1919) and of his raft ordeal in Seven Came Through (1943). Rickenbacker (1967) is his autobiography.