December 2, 2022

1943. Eddie Rickenbacker Lands in Moscow

'Rick' in Russia
"Eddie Rickenbacker (left) shaking hands with Henry L. Stimson (right)," December 19, 1942 (source)
From Newsweek, July 5, 1943, pp. 28-29:

'Rick' in Russia

Eddie Rickenbacker arrived in Moscow last week on another leg of his worldwide mission investigating the performance of American planes for Secretary of War Stimson—a mission that was only temporarily interrupted by his brush with death in the Pacific. In Moscow his job will be to pry from the Russians some information on how United States Lend-Lease planes have turned out. In the following dispatch, Bill Downs, Newsweek correspondent in the Soviet capital, describes Rickenbacker's reception.

The arrival of Rickenbacker's Liberator plane caught the American military and embassy officials by surprise. The knowledge that he was even in this part of the world reached Moscow only a half hour before he landed. Ambassador William H. Standley picked up the military attaché, Brig. Gen. Joseph Michela, in his big Buick—the most luxurious car in Russia—and raced for the airport in Moscow. It was a dead heat. The Ambassador's Buick arrived just as Rickenbacker's Liberator came in.

Rickenbacker was grinning and apologized "for dropping in like this without warning." Then General Michela and Ambassador Standley got together to solve the housing problem. Admiral Standley's residence was reserved in preparation for Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, and James Reston, assistant to the publisher, who arrived the next day on a Red Cross mission. The situation was solved by Michela who installed an extra bed in his apartment across the street from the Kremlin. The flier and his doctor, Alexander Dahl of Atlanta, who gives Rickenbacker osteopathic treatments at least once daily, were installed there.

Rickenbacker's mission had previously taken him to India and China. [This is the first report that Rickenbacker visited those countries.] He is going to Britain after he leaves the Soviet Union. The American flier also attended ceremonies at which United States medals were presented to Soviet soldiers and sailors. Rickenbacker met the foreign press in off-the-record conferences in which he talked with gracious charm—but gave no information about his mission.