Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager (born February 13, 1923) is a retired brigadier general in the United States Air Force and record-setting test pilot. In 1947, he became the first pilot confirmed to have exceeded the speed of sound in level flight. Yeager's career began in World War II as a private in the United States Army Air Forces. After serving as an aircraft mechanic, in September 1942 he entered enlisted pilot training and upon graduation was promoted to the rank of flight officer (the World War II USAAF equivalent to warrant officer) and became a P-51 fighter pilot.