On September 7, 1956, U.S. Air Force captain Iven Carl Kincheloe, Jr. of Cassopolis, Mich., became the first man to fly into outer space (as it was defined at the time) when his X-2 supersonic plane reached a record altitude of 126,200 feet. Upon his return to Earth, the press called Kincheloe the first of America’s spacemen.
Kincheloe was born in Detroit on July 2, 1928, but grew up in Cassopolis. After graduating from high school, he attended Purdue University, and then joined the Air Force. During the Korean War, he flew 131 missions, becoming an Ace, and earning three Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Silver Star. He died in a crash at Edwards Air Force Base on July 26, 1958 and is buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Kinross Air Force Base, Michigan, was named Kincheloe Air Force Base in his honor.
Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.
Michigan History, November/December 2006