Near Cassopolis in Cass County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Captain Iven C. Kincheloe Memorial
Born July 2, 1928, was a Korean War fighter ace who flew the rocket-powered Bell X-2 to a world record altitude of 126,200 feet on September 7, 1956. He died July 26, 1958, in the service of his country while flight testing an experimental aircraft.
Ace Pilot of the Korean War
Iven Carl Kincheloe (1928-58), space pioneer, grew up one mile from this site. The 1945 Dowagiac High School graduate was licensed to fly at 16 and graduated from Purdue University in Aeronautical Engineering in 1949. Entering the USAF from ROTC, he flew 131 combat missions in the Korean War, becoming the 10th jet ace of the war on April 6, 1952. He earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.
The First Spaceman
After his Korean War service, Captain Kincheloe trained to be a test pilot. Assigned to Edwards AFB, he flew experimental rocket aircraft and piloted the Bell X-2 to a record 126,200 feet, the fringes of outer space, on September 7, 1956. Kincheloe received the Mackey Trophy and was hailed as “The First Spaceman.” Chosen as the first pilot of the North American X-15, he was a national hero and spokesman for the USAF and space program.
Captain Kincheloe died in a jet crash on July 26, 1958 and never flew the X-15. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery and awarded the Legion of Merit. Kincheloe AFB in the Upper Peninsula, the Iven C. Kincheloe Award and Dowagiac’s Kincheloe Elementary School honor his legacy. With this monument, Cass County remembers the dreams, spirit and achievements of Iven C. Kincheloe, the First Spaceman.
Location. 41° 54.895′ N, 85° 58.377′ W. Marker is near Cassopolis, Michigan, in Cass County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of State Highway 60 and Decatur Road, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is located in Kincheloe Memorial Park at the southwest corner of the intersection. Marker is in this post office area: Cassopolis MI 49031, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Underground Railway (approx. 0.8 miles away); Freedom Road (approx. 2 miles away); Cass County Courthouse (approx. 2 miles away); Lewis Cass (approx. 2.1 miles away); Cassopolis Veterans Memorial (approx. 2.2 miles away); The Underground Railroad (approx. 2.9 miles away); Cass County Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.6 miles away); Birch Lake Meeting House (approx. 5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Cassopolis.
Also see . . .
1. Kincheloe Military Memorial Park. From the Discover Cass County website. (Submitted on July 16, 2014.)
2. America's First Spaceman. A story on Captain Iven Kincheloe from National Public Radio. (Submitted on July 16, 2014.)
3. Iven Carl Kincheloe, Jr. Detailed biography from the arlingtoncemetery.net website. (Submitted on July 16, 2014.)
Categories. • Air & Space • War, Korean •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 392 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.