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Yeager later commanded fighter squadrons and wings in Germany, as well as in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. In recognition of his achievements and the outstanding performance ratings of those units, he was promoted to brigadier general in 1969 and inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973, retiring on March 1, 1975. His three-war active-duty flying career spanned more than 30 years and took him to many parts of the world, including the Korean War zone and the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War.

Yeager is referred to by many as one of the greatest pilots of all time, and was ranked fifth on Flying's list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation in 2013. Throughout his life, he flew more than 360 different types of aircraft over a 70-year period, and continued to fly for two decades after retirement as a consultant pilot for the United States Air Force.