The highest-scoring U.S. ace of World War I (26 victories), Rickenbacker was a professional auto racer when he turned 25 in the fall of 1915. He was ranked fifth in the nation that year, won $24,000 in prize money, and formed his own racing team. In 1916, the 25-year-old Rickenbacker climbed to third place with winnings of $60,000. In November of that year, a chance meeting with Glenn Martin led to Rickenbacker’s first hop in an airplane.
Photos from: "What Were They Doing at 25?" »