Air & Space


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Welcome to Continental Lodge #287's Home Page. We Fraternally invite you to view our Communication and visit us on our regular meeting night.  We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at Grand Lodge, 71 West 23rd Street in the Renaissance Room on the 6th Floor at 7:30PM.  Our Brothers meet for dinner prior to the meetings. Check the Communication for location and feel free to join us..... Dutch of course!!
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Air and Space



James Irwin

Irwin was born March 17, 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in naval science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951. Master of Science in aeronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan in 1957.

EXPERIENCE: Upon graduation from the Naval Academy, Irwin was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and received his flight training at Hondo Air Force Base and Reese Air Force Base, Texas. He later assisted in development of the Mach-3 YF-12A interceptor, serving with the F-12 Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and with the AIM-47 Project Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He was graduated from the Experimental Test Pilot School in 1961 and from the Aerospace Research Pilot School in 1963. He then became Chief of the Advanced Requirements Branch at Headquarters Air Defense Command.

NASA selected Irwin as an astronaut in April 1966. He was backup Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 12. He flew as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 15, launched on July 26, 1971,. Irwin and David R. Scott flew their Lunar Module to the moon's surface while Alfred M. Worden waited in the Command Module in lunar orbit. This was the first extended scientific expedition to the moon and the first to use the Lunar Rover. In three separate excursions over three days they explored the most spectacular Apollo landing site, a narrow valley hemmed in on three sides by the 4,500 m Apennine Mountains and on the fourth by a 2 km wide canyon, Hadley Rille. They returned with 77 kg of rocks, having left behind an ALSEP science station for continued monitoring of the lunar environment.

Irwin retired from NASA and from the Air Force, with the rank of colonel, in 1972. A very religious person, he founded the High Flight Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to sharing Irwin's faith in God through speaking engagements, publications and retreats. He made several trips to Turkey's Mount Ararat in an unsuccessful quest for Noah's Ark. Irwin served as chairman and president of the foundation until his death from a heart attack on August 8, 1991, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Return To Last Page



Henry "Hap" Arnold

HENRY HAP ARNOLD (b. June 25, 1886, Gladwyne, Pa., U.S.--d. Jan. 15, 1950, Sonoma, Calif.), air strategist, commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II.

After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1907, Arnold served in the infantry and then transferred to the aeronautical section of the Signal Corps, receiving his flying instruction in 1911 from Orville Wright. During World War I he rose from the grade of captain to colonel and was eventually the executive officer to the chief of the air service. In the decade of demobilization and disarmament after the war, he was one of the apostles of strategic air power, following the lead of General William ("Billy") Mitchell. In 1931 he was appointed commanding officer of the first wing, General Headquarters Air Force, where he originated and tested the organization and tactics that were to be employed in World War II.

Arnold reported to Washington, D.C., in 1936 as assistant chief of the Army Air Corps. When his superior, General Oscar Westover, was killed in a plane crash in 1938, Arnold succeeded him as chief. Anticipating the coming global conflict, Arnold strongly pressed for increased Air Corps appropriations and aid to the Allies, despite the hostility of isolationists and shortsighted officers in the military. In 1941 he published, in collaboration with General Ira C. Eaker, a book entitled Winged Warfare.

During World War II Arnold commanded the U.S. Army Air Corps throughout the world. He also served as air representative on the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and on the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff. In these capacities he was an influential architect of the plans and strategy that resulted in Allied victory. In December 1944 he was one of four Army leaders promoted to the five-star rank of general of the army. He retired from service in 1946, and in 1949 his title was changed to general of the air force.

Arnold had long planned and advocated that the air forces should have parity with the Army and Navy in the U.S. military establishment. The National Defense Act of 1947, authorizing this organization, was undoubtedly due in no small measure to Arnold's effort and influence. His autobiography, Global Mission (1949), includes a history of U.S. military aviation.
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Daniel "Chappie" James

Born February 11, 1920 at Pensacola, Florida, he learned to fly while attending the Tuskegee Institute and after graduation inPhoto of General James 1942 continued civilian flight training until he received appointment as a Cadet in the Army Air Corps in January 1943.

He was commissioned in July 1943 and throughout the remainder of World War II he trained pilots for the all-black 99th Pursuit Squardon and worked in other assignments. He was subsequently stationed in Ohio and in the Philippines.

During the Korean War he flew 101 missions in fighters. From 1953 to 1956 he was at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts, receiving promotion to Major in that period. On graduating from the Air Command-Staff School in 1957, he was assigned to staff duty in Washington.

From 1960 to 1964, he was stationed in England and from 1964 to 1966 in Arizona and in 1966-67
in Vietnam where he flew 78 combat missions.
By then a Colonel, he was Vice Commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Elgin Air Force Base, Florida, in 1967-69, and then promoted to Brigadier General, was named base commander of Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya.

In March 1970 be became Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and advanced to Major General. In September 1974, with the rank of Lieutenant General, he became Vice Commander of the Military Airlift Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

In September 1975 he became the first black officer in the history of the United States military to attain 4-star full General rank. At that time he was named Commander of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), with responsibility for all aspects of the air defense of the United States and Canada. He was also much-sought after as a public speaker and devoted considerable time to addressing youth groups, particularly minority students.

He died shortly after his retirement from the Air Force of a heart attack in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His private memorial in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery says, in part:

"This is my country and I believe in her. I'll protect her against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
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Admiral Richard Byrd

It is not possible to know the history of the polar regions or undertake scientific investigation of the areas without being aware of Admiral Richard E. Byrd or benefiting from his contributions. As a navigational aviator, Byrd pioneered in the technology that would be the foundation for modern polar exploration and investigation. As a decorated and much celebrated hero, Byrd drew popular attention to areas of the world that would become focal points of scientific investigation in numerous disciplines. Finally, as a naval officer Admiral Byrd contributed to the role of government in sponsoring and facilitating research in polar regions and topics.

Portrait Richard E. Byrd first made his mark in the U.S. Navy. Graduating with the class of 1912 from the U.S. Naval Academy, he served in the battleship fleet until forced into medical retirement in 1916 from the after-effects of a smashed ankle suffered while a midshipman. Recalled to active duty in a retired status, he organized the Commission on Training Camps. In April 1918 he won his wings as Naval Aviator 608.

From the start of his flying career he demonstrated unusual ability. Byrd pioneered the technique of night-time landings of seaplanes on the ocean and flew out over the horizon, out of sight of land, and navigated back to his base. In 1918 he proposed flying the newly built NC-1 flying boats across the Atlantic to the war zone in France. His war service was in Canada as Commander, U.S. Naval Air Forces with responsibility for two air bases in Nova Scotia.

With the conclusion of hostilities, Byrd was called to Washington and made responsible for the navigational preparations for the transatlantic flight attempt of the NC flying boats in l9l9. He was a skilled officer in representing Navy interests under consideration by the Congress. Byrd won wide acclaim for directing the lobbying effort that resulted in the first post-war pay-raise for military personnel. Byrd was also invaluable in the long campaign of Naval aviators to establish a Bureau of Aeronautics.

Interested in polar exploration from childhood, his adult involvement began in 1924 when he was appointed navigator for the proposed transpolar flight of the Navy's dirigible Shenandoah from Alaska to Spitzbergen. When the flight was canceled by President Coolidge, Byrd began to organize his own Navy flight expedition to the Arctic. He was compelled to join forces with the MacMillan Expedition to northwest Greenland sponsored by the National Geographic Society in 1925. At that time Byrd completed the first flights over Ellsmere Island and the interior of Greenland.

In 1926 he took leave from the Navy to organize a privately financed expedition to the Arctic, which was to be based in Spitzbergen. Plans included several flights over the pack ice, including one to the North Pole. Supported by Edsel Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the New York Times and others, Byrd and his pilot, Floyd Bennett, claimed to have reached the North Pole on May 9, 1926. Both men were awarded the Medal of Honor after their return to the United States. In later years scholars have raised questions about the success of the expedition in flying over the North Pole.

Cheered by the outpouring of public support and admiration, Byrd continued his leave from the Navy. With commercial sponsorship, he completed the first multi-engine airplane crossing of the Atlantic to France. Byrd then turned his sights to Antarctica in 1928.  During the remaining years of his life he was involved in five expeditions to Antarctica. These explorations accounted for the discovery of hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory which were claimed for the United States. He personified the inception of the mechanical era of Antarctic exploration. No other person in Antarctic history has contributed more to the geographic discovery of the continent than Byrd.

With highly visible accomplishments, he thrilled millions and raised large amounts of funding. He flew over the South Pole in November 1929. He spent most of the winter of 1934 alone in a meteorological hut some 100 miles into the interior. His winter weather observations were the first taken from the interior. This effort almost cost Byrd his life when he was poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes.

Byrd remained a promoter of Antarctic exploration. He merged his plans for a third private expedition with governmental plans and became the commanding officer of the United States Antarctic Service.  With the onset of World War II he returned to active service and earned two decorations as the Chief of Naval Operations.

In the early post-war years, Byrd participated in the organization of the U.S. Navy Antarctic Developments Project in 1946-47 (Operation Highjump) He supervised the preparation of a study for the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Greenland as a site for military training and operations. In his final years he was called again to serve the nation as Officer in Charge of United States Antarctic Programs. This responsibility gave him authority to coordinate government supported scientific, logistic and political work in Antarctica. Admiral Byrd remained an influential figure in polar research until his death in 1957.
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Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey on January 20, 1930. His mother, Marion Moon, was the daughter of anPortrait: Buzz Aldrin Army Chaplain. His father, Edwin Eugene Aldrin, was an aviation pioneer, a student of rocket developer Robert Goddard, and an aide to the immortal General Billy Mitchell. Buzz was educated at West Point, graduating with honors in 1951, third in his class. After receiving his wings, he flew Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in the Korean Conflict, shooting down two MIG-15's. Returning to his education, he earned a Doctorate in Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Manned Space Rendezvous. The techniques he devised were used on all NASA missions, including the first space docking with the Russian Cosmonauts.

In October 1963, Buzz was selected by NASA as one of the early astronauts. In November 1966, he established a new record for Extra-Vehicular Activity in space on the Gemini XII orbital flight mission. He has logged 4500 hours of flying time, 290 of which were in space, including 8 hours of EVA. As Backup Command Module Pilot for Apollo VIII, man's first flight around the moon, Buzz significantly improved operational techniques for astronautical navigation star display. Then, on July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo XI moon walk, thus becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. This unprecedented heroic endeavor was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history.

Upon returning from the moon, Buzz embarked on an international goodwill tour. He was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor amongst over 50 other distinguished awards and medals from the United States and numerous other countries.

Since retiring from NASA, the Air Force, and his position as Commander of the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Dr. Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in manned space exploration. To advance his lifelong commitment to venturing outward in space, he has created a master plan of evolving missions for sustained exploration utilizing his concept, "The Cycler," a spacecraft system which makes perpetual orbits between Earth and Mars, and in 1993 received a patent for a permanent space station he designed.

Buzz authored an autobiography, "Return to Earth" in 1974, and in 1989 wrote, "Men from Earth," describing his trip to the moon and his unique perspective on America's future in Space.In 1996, he published his first science fiction novel, Encounter With Tiber (published by Warner Books). Buzz participates in many space organizations worldwide, including the National Space Society, in developing future space programs and space education. He is also endorsing two educational computer software products for children.

On Valentine's Day 1988, Buzz married Lois Driggs Cannon of Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Stanford graduate and active community leader in Southern California where they now reside. Their combined family is comprised of six grown children and one grandson. Their leisure time is spent exploring the deep sea world of scuba diving and skiing the mountaintops of Sun Valley, Idaho.

Now Buzz, as Starcraft Enterprises - the name of his private space endeavors - is lecturing and traveling throughout the world to pursue and discuss his and others' latest concepts and ideas for exploring the universe. He is a leading voice in charting the course of future space efforts, chairing both the National Space Society and the ShareSpace Foundation.                   Return To Last Page



Charles Lindberg

Lindbergh, Charles Augustus (1902-1974), an American aviator, made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20-21, 1927. Other pilots had crossed the Atlantic before him. But Lindbergh was the first person to do it alone nonstop.

Lindbergh's feat gained him immediate, international fame. The press named him "Lucky Lindy" and the "Lone Eagle." Americans and Europeans idolized the shy, slim young man and showered him with honors.

Before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Lindbergh campaigned against voluntary American involvement in World War II. Many Americans criticized him for his noninvolvement beliefs. After the war, he avoided publicity until the late 1960's, when he spoke out for the conservation of natural resources. Lindbergh served as an adviser in the aviation industry from the days of wood and wire airplanes to supersonic jets.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on Feb. 4, 1902, in Detroit. He grew up on a farm near Little Falls, Minn. He was the son of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Sr., a lawyer, and his wife, Evangeline Land Lodge. Lindbergh's father served as a U.S. congressman from Minnesota from 1907 to 1917.

In childhood, Lindbergh showed exceptional mechanical ability. At the age of 18 years, he entered the University of Wisconsin to study engineering. However, Lindbergh was more interested in the exciting, young field of aviation than he was in school. After two years, he left school to become a barnstormer, a pilot who performed daredevil stunts at fairs.

In 1924, Lindbergh enlisted in the United States Army so that he could be trained as an Army Air Service Reserve pilot. In 1925, he graduated from the Army's flight-training school at Brooks and Kelly fields, near San Antonio, as the best pilot in his class. After Lindbergh completed his Army training, the Robertson Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis hired him to fly the mail between St. Louis and Chicago. He gained a reputation as a cautious and capable pilot.

n 1919, a New York City hotel owner named Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 to the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Several pilots were killed or injured while competing for the Orteig prize. By 1927, it had still not been won. Lindbergh believed he could win it if he had the right airplane. He persuaded nine St. Louis businessmen to help him finance the cost of a plane. Lindbergh chose Ryan Aeronautical Company of San Diego to manufacture a special plane, which he helped design. He named the plane the Spirit of St. Louis. On May 10-11, 1927, Lindbergh tested the plane by flying from San Diego to New York City, with an overnight stop in St. Louis. The flight took 20 hours 21 minutes, a transcontinental record.

On May 20, Lindbergh took off in the Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field, near New York City, at 7:52 A.M. He landed at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, on May 21 at 10:21 P.M. Paris time (5:21 P.M. New York time). Thousands of cheering people had gathered to meet him. He had flown more than 3,600 miles (5,790 kilometers) in 33 1/2 hours.

Lindbergh's heroic flight thrilled people throughout the world. He was honored with awards, celebrations, and parades. President Calvin Coolidge gave Lindbergh the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

In 1927, Lindbergh published We, a book about his transatlantic flight. The title referred to Lindbergh and his plane. Lindbergh flew throughout the United States to encourage air-mindedness on behalf of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics. Lindbergh learned about the pioneer rocket research of Robert H. Goddard, a Clark University physics professor. Lindbergh persuaded the Guggenheim family to support Goddard's experiments, which later led to the development of missiles, satellites, and space travel. Lindbergh also worked for several airlines as a technical adviser.

At the request of the U.S. government, Lindbergh flew to various Latin-American countries in December 1927 as a symbol of American good will. While in Mexico, he met Anne Spencer Morrow, the daughter of Dwight W. Morrow, the American ambassador there. Lindbergh married Anne Morrow in 1929. He taught her to fly, and they went on many flying expeditions together throughout the world, charting new routes for various airlines. Anne Morrow Lindbergh also became famous for her poetry and other writings.

Lindbergh invented an "artificial heart" between 1931 and 1935. He developed it for Alexis Carrel, a French surgeon and biologist whose research included experiments in keeping organs alive outside the body. Lindbergh's device could pump the substances necessary for life throughout the tissues of an organ.

On March 1, 1932, the Lindberghs' 20-month-old son, Charles Augustus, Jr., was kidnapped from the family home in New Jersey. About ten weeks later, his body was found. In 1934, police arrested a carpenter, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, and charged him with the murder. Hauptmann was convicted of the crime. He was executed in 1936.

The press sensationalized the tragedy. Reporters, photographers, and curious onlookers pestered the Lindberghs constantly. In 1935, after the Hauptmann trial, Lindbergh, his wife, and their 3-year-old son, Jon, moved to Europe in search of privacy and safety.

The Lindbergh kidnapping led Congress to pass the "Lindbergh law." This law makes kidnapping a federal offense if the victim is taken across state lines or if the mail service is used for ransom demands.

While in Europe, Lindbergh was invited by the governments of France and Germany to tour the aircraft industries of their countries. Lindbergh was especially impressed with the highly advanced aircraft industry of Nazi Germany. In 1938, Hermann Goering, a high Nazi official, presented Lindbergh with a German medal of honor. Lindbergh's acceptance of the medal caused an outcry in the United States among critics of Nazism.

Lindbergh and his family returned to the United States in 1939. In 1941, he joined the America First Committee, an organization that opposed voluntary American entry into World War II. Lindbergh became a leading spokesman for the committee. He criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's foreign policies. He also charged that British, Jewish, and pro-Roosevelt groups were leading America into war. Lindbergh resigned his commission in the Army Air Corps after Roosevelt publicly denounced him. Some Americans accused Lindbergh of being a Nazi sympathizer because he refused to return the medal he had accepted.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Lindbergh stopped his noninvolvement activity. He tried to reenlist, but his request was refused. He then served as a technical adviser and test pilot for the Ford Motor Company and United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation).

In April 1944, Lindbergh went to the Pacific war area as an adviser to the United States Army and Navy. Although he was a civilian, he flew about 50 combat missions. Lindbergh also developed cruise control techniques that increased the capabilities of American fighter planes.

After the War, Lindbergh withdrew from public attention. He worked as a consultant to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. President Dwight D. Eisenhower restored Lindbergh's commission and appointed him a brigadier general in the Air Force in 1954. Pan American World Airways also hired Lindbergh as a consultant. He advised the airline on its purchase of jet transports and eventually helped design the Boeing 747 jet. In 1953, Lindbergh published The Spirit of St. Louis, an expanded account of his 1927 transatlantic flight. The book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1954.

Lindbergh traveled widely and developed an interest in the cultures of peoples in Africa and the Philippines. In the late 1960's, he ended his years of silence to speak out for the conservation movement. He especially campaigned for the protection of humpback and blue whales, two species of whales in danger of extinction. Lindbergh opposed the development of supersonic transport planes because he feared the effects the planes might have on the earth's atmosphere.

Lindbergh died of cancer on Aug. 26, 1974, in his home on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The Autobiography of Values, a collection of Lindbergh's writings, was published in 1978. Return To Last Page



Lawrence Bell

Lawrence Dale Bell was born in Mentone, on April 5, 1894, the youngest son of Isaac and Harriet Sarber Bell. He was known to everyone as Larry, and attended school in Mentone until 1907 when his family moved to Santa Monica, California.

In January, 1910, Larry and an older brother, Grover, attended the first major U.S. Air Show at Dominguez Field near Los Angeles. Immensely impressed, they returned home and built a plane of their own. It was only a model, but it flew and it changed the lives of both Bell brothers.

In 1912, a month before Larry was to graduate from high school, Grover, who had recently learned to fly, asked him to join the great stunt pilot Lincoln Beachey and himself as a mechanic. Larry easily passed the final examination that ended his formal education and joined the pilots, completely enjoying his work. Beachey temporarily quit, but the Bell brothers continued attending air shows. Grover was killed in a crash in 1913, and Larry vowed to quit aviation. In a short time, however, friends convinced him to return to the field and he went to work for Glenn L. Martin.

At age 20, Larry was shop foreman, and within a few years he became vice-president and general manager of the Martin Co. In 1928, he left to join Consolidated Aircraft in Buffalo, New York.

Consolidated moved to California in 1935, and Larry decided to form his own corporation. The company, Bell Aircraft Corporation, had a slow beginning. Its undaunted engineers continued to perfect new designs. In the first 20 years of its existence, the company recorded 20 firsts. For these firsts, Larry was honored with the Daniel Guggenheim Medal, the Collier Trophy, a presidential citation, the French Legion of Honor, honorary degrees and many other honors, in addition to having schools and parks named after him.

At his death in 1956, Larry Bell was the dean of American aviation, having served the industry 44 years.

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John Glenn

John Herschel Glenn, Jr. was born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio. Before he started school his family mPortrait: John Glennmoved to nearby New Concord, where after graduating, from New Concord High School, he enrolled in Muskingum College. He had already learned to fly at the small New Philadelphia airfield before enlisting in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program shortly after Pearl Harbor. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1943 and served in combat in the South Pacific. Glenn requested combat duty in the Korean conflict, and for his service in 149 missions in two wars, he received many honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross (six occasions) and the Air Medal with eighteen clusters.

Glenn served several years as a test pilot on Navy and Marine Corps jet fighters and attack aircraft, setting a transcontinental speed record in 1957 for the first flight to average supersonic speeds from Los Angeles to New York.

In 1959 John Glenn was selected to be one of the first seven astronauts in the U.S. space program. Three years later, on, February 20, 1962, he made history as the first American to orbit the earth, completing three orbits in a five-hour flight, for which he received the Space Congressional Medal of Honor.

After 23 years of distinguished service to his country, Glenn retired from the Marine Corps in 1965. He took an active part in politics and early environmental protection efforts in Ohio while pursuing, a career as an executive with Royal Crown International. He won his Senate seat in 1974, carrying all 88 counties of Ohio, and was re-elected in 1980 with the largest margin in Ohio history. Ohioans returned him to the Senate for a third term in 1986, again with a substantial majority. In 1992, John Glenn again made history by being the first popularly elected Senator from Ohio to win four consecutive terms.

Glenn is assigned to serve as payload specialist on the crew of STS-95. This mission will support a variety of research payloads including deployment of the Spartan solar-observing spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test Platform, and investigations on space flight and the aging process. STS-95 is scheduled for launch in October 1998. 

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Gordon Cooper

BIRTHPLACE: Shawnee, Oklahoma, March 6, 1927
PARENTS: Father - Leroy Gordon Cooper, Sr. - deceased Mother - Hattie Cooper - Resides in Carbondale, Colorado
PHYSICAL DATA: Brown hair, blue eyes, 5 ft. 8 in., 155 lbs.
EDUCATION: Primary and Secondary Schools: Shawnee, Oklahoma; Murray, Kentucky
Colleges: University of Hawaii University of Maryland - European Extension U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology
Advanced Level: Eleven years graduate level training in Space Technology, Space Mechanics, Lunar Geology, Spacecraft Design, Spacecraft Check Out and Flight Testing with NASA
Degrees: B.S.A.E. - Air Force Institute of Technology Dr. of Science - Oklahoma City University
Other Schools: Graduate of U.S.A.F. Jet Pilot School, Graduate of U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team School, Graduate of U.S.N. Helicopter School

HOBBIES: Treasure hunting, archeology, racing, flying, skiing, boating, hunting, fishing

ORGANIZATIONS: The Society of Experimental Test Pilots, The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics The American Astronautical Society, The Blue Lodge Masons, The York Rite Masons, The Scottish Rite Masons, The Royal Order of Jesters, The Sojourners, The Rotary Club, The Daedalians, The Confederate Air Force, The Boy Scouts of America, The Girl Scouts of America.

AWARDS AND TROPHIES: The Air Force Legion of Merit, The Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross Cluster, The NASA Exceptional Service Medal, The NASA Distinguished Service Medal, USAF Command Astronaut Wings, The Collier Trophy, The Harmon Trophy, The Scottish Rite 33o, The York Rite Knight of the Purple Cross, The DeMolay Legion of Honor, The John F. Kennedy Trophy, The Ivan E. Kincheloe Trophy, The Air Force Association Trophy, The Primus Trophy, The John Montgomery Trophy, The General Thomas E. White Trophy, The Association of Aviation Writers Award, The University of Hawaii Regents Medal, The Columbus Medal, The Silver Antelope, and The Sport Fishing Society of Spain Award,


1963 - Flew 22 orbits (solo) in Mercury 9 (Faith 7) 1963 - Gave one of the opening addresses to the first meeting of the League of African Nations (from Space) 1963 - Used the first television camera in Space 1963 - First pilot-controlled re-entry from Space 1963-1965 - First Military man to address the Joint Sessions of Congress twice 1965 - Flew 122 orbits as command pilot of Gemini 5 1965 - First man to fly two orbital flights 1965 - First man to fly a fuel cell in Space 1965 - First man to fly a radar set in Space 1965 - First man to track a typhoon from Space 1965 - Established the World Record of most hours in Space for the United States 1965 - National Aeronautic Association Record Distance in Earth orbit 1965 - National Aeronautic Association Record Duration in Earth orbit

FLYING EXPERIENCE: 7000 hours total time; 4000 hours jet time; Flies all types of commercial and general aviation airplane and helicopters.
1945-1946 - United States Marine Corps.
1946-1949 - Attended the University of Hawaii - obtained commission
1949 - Called to active duty USAF (for pilot training)
1950-1954 - Fighter pilot with 86th Fighter-Bomber group in Germany
1954-1956 - Attended the Air Force Institute of Technology 1956-1957 - Attended the USAF Experimental Flight Test School 1957-1959 - Served as Experimental Flight Test Engineer and Flight Test Pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California
1959 - Selected in First Group of Seven Astronauts for the NASA Mercury Program
May 15-16, 1963 - Command Pilot on MA9 - "Faith 7"
August 21-28, 1965 - Command Pilot on Gemini 5
October 1965 - October 1966 - Served as Back-up Command Pilot on Gemini 12
April 1968 - April 1969 - Served as Back-up Command Pilot on Apollo 10
July 31, 1970 - Retired from the Air Force and the Space Program


1956-1959 - Experimental Flight Engineer and Test Pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center. Served as Project Manager on several flight development projects. Helped to develop new techniques of flight testing and new aircraft stability parameters.
1950-1970 - In addition to training for Space Flight, has had extensive experience in test project management from the drawing board to the flight test phase of check out and qualification for various major systems of the Space Program.


1962-1967 - Performance Unlimited, Inc. - President - Manufactured race engines, fiberglass boats, distributed marine engines and products, raced high performance boats.
1963-1967 - GCR, Inc. - President - Designed, tested and raced championship cars at Indianapolis and other USAC tracks, conducted tire tests for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, pioneered turbine engine installation on cars.
1965-1970 - Teletest, Inc. - President - Designed, installed and tested various systems using advanced Telemetry.
1966-1969 - Doubloon, Inc. - Participated with Doubloon Inc. on design, construction, and utilization of new types of Treasure Hunting equipment.
1968-1969 - Cosmos, Inc. - Participated with Cosmos, Inc. on Archeology exploration projects.
1968-1970 - Profile Race Team - Part owner and race project manager, designed constructed and raced high performance boats.
1968-1970 - Republic Corp. Technical Consultant - Technical consultant for corporate acquisitions and public relations.
1967-1969 - Thompson Industries Technical Consultant - Technical Consultant for design and construction of various automotive production items for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Motor Companies.
1970-1972 - Canaveral International, Inc. - Member of Board of Directors and Technical Consultant for developing technical products, public relations in land development projects.
1970 -Present - Gordon Cooper & Associates, Inc. - President for consultant firm specializing technical projects from airline and aerospace fields to land and hotel development projects.
1970-1974 - APECO - Board of Director for corporation which produces and markets modular homes, computer systems, office systems, copy machines and boats and marine equipment.
July 1972-June 1973 - Campco - Member of Board of Directors and Technical consultant for corporation which builds campers and mobile homes.
August 1972-December 1973 - LowCom Systems, Inc. - Board of Directors and Technical Consultant for design and production of various advanced electronic systems.
1972-1973 - Aerofoil Systems, Inc. - Board of Directors and Technical Consultant for design and construction of lifting, inflatable, steerable foils which could land cargo and/or personnel at a precise spot.
July 1973-January 1974 - Craftech Construction, Inc. - Vice President and member of the Board of Directors - Design and construction of economical homes, garages, storage buildings, and hangars of Craftboard and fiberglass.
January 1973-Present - Constant Energy Systems, Inc. - Development of a large energy system to use for metropolitan power and ship engines without use of petrochemicals. Development and sales of improvements to automotive engines to increase their efficiency.
1975 Became Vice President for Research and Development for Walter E. Disney Enterprises, Inc., the research and development subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions. Located in Glendale, California.

Currently President, XL, Inc., Beverly Hills, California.  Return To Last Page



Wally Schirra

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Schirra was born in Hackensack, NJ, on March 12, 1923.

EDUCATION: Graduated United States Naval Academy in 1945

EXPERIENCE: Schirra received his Naval Flight Training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida, in 1947. He served as a carrier-based fighter pilot and operations officer and then attended the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland. During the Korean War he flew 90 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre as an exchange pilot with the U. S. Air Force and received the Distinguished Flying Cross

NASA selected Schirra as one of the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959. He flew on the fifth Project Mercury flight, orbiting the earth in his Sigma 7 capsule six times in 9 hours 13 minutes on Oct. 3, 1962. Following the fiasco of Carpenter’s preceding flight, he conducted a ‘textbook mission’, with minimal experiments.

Schirra commanded Gemini 6, flying with astronaut Tom Stafford. They were to have tracked down and docked with an Agena satellite, but the Agena exploded after lift-off on Oct. 25, 1965. Innovative planners decided Gemini 6 would rendezvous with Gemini 7, a 14-day endurance flight manned by Frank Borman and James Lovell. Gemini 7 was launched Dec. 4, 1965. Gemini 6 was to take off December 12 but was aborted when the Titan 2 booster rocket engine shut down after ignition. Schirra coolly did not pull the ejection handles and stayed on the live booster until it could be saved. Three days later, Schirra and Stafford were launched and the rendezvoused with Gemini 7. After five hours of formation spaceflight, Schirra moved away from Gemini 7. He and Cernan returned to earth the next day while Gemini 7 continued its grueling flight.

Schirra was commander of Apollo 7 - the first flight test of the redesigned Apollo after the first crew died in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire on January 27, 1967. Following launch on October 11, 1968, the flight was a complete success and provided NASA with confidence to send the next Apollo crew into orbit around the moon. However the Schirra and his crew suffered head colds and had numerous arguments with ground controllers. NASA management secretly decided that none of them would be allowed to fly in space again.

Schirra, seeing any chance of commanding another mission, retired from the Navy and NASA in 1969 and entered the business. He served as an officer and director of several companies and eventually formed his own consultant company, Schirra Enterprises.  Return To Last Page



Virgil Grissom

Virgil Ivan Grissom Portrait Virgil I. Grissom, a captain in the U.S. Air Force, was born Arril 3, 1926 in Mitchell, Indiana. He is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes. Mrs. Grissom is the former Betty L. Moore. They have two sons: Scott, 11, and Mark, 7. Grissom's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis D. Grissom, live at 715 Baker Street, Mitchell, Indiana. He has two brothers: Norman, of Mitchell; and Lowell, a senior at Indiana University; and a sister, Mrs. Joe Beavers, who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. His wife's father, Claude Moore, lives in Mitchell; her mother is deceased.

Grissom attended primary and high schools in Mitchell. He first entered the Air Force in 1944 as an aviation cadet and was discharged in November 1945. He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1950. He returned to aviation cadet training after his graduation from Purdue and received his wings in March 1951. Grissom joined the 75th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Presque Isle, Maine, as an F-86 fighter pilot. He flew 100 combat missions in Korea in F-86s with the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. He left Korea in June 1952 and became a jet pilot instructor at Bryan, Texas. In August 1955 he went to the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to study aeronautical engineering. In October 1956 he attended the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California and returned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in May 1957 as a test pilot assigned to the Fighter Branch. He has flown more than 3400 hours, over 2500 in jets.

Grissom has been awarded the DFC and Air Medal with Cluster for service in Korea.

(Note: Grissom died in an Apollo capsule, during a simulated count down, at Cape Canaveral, January 27, 1967 at 6:30 PM EST. With him were Edward White and Roger Chaffee.)   Return To Last Page

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