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John H. Glenn, Jr.

Colonel U.S. Marine Corps

Pioneer U.S. Astronaut

Born Cambridge, Ohio

July 18, 1921—


In 1942, John Hershel Glenn, Jr. graduated with a Science Degree in Engineering from Muskigum College and obtained his commission in the U.S. Marine Corps through the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1943.

After advanced training, Glenn joined Marine Fighter Squadron 155 and spent a year flying F-4U fighters on 59 combat missions in the Marshall Islands. From 1949-1950, he was an instructor, first in advanced flight training in Corpus Christi, Texas, then later at amphibious warfare training in Virginia. In Korea, he flew 63 missions with Marine Fighter Squadron 311, and 27 missions as an exchange pilot with the Air Force. In the last nine days of fighting in Korea, he downed 3 MIG aircraft in combat along the Yalu River.

After Korea, Glenn attended the Navy test pilot school at Patuxent River, Maryland, and was assigned to the Fighter Design Branch of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington. During this time, he also attended the University of Maryland. In 1957, he set a speed record from Los Angeles to New York in an F-8U, the first transcontinental flight to maintain an average of supersonic speed.

Glenn was chosen with the first group of astronauts in 1959. He served as backup pilot for Alan Shepard before his own flight on February 20, 1962. In Friendship 7, Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth, making 3 orbits in four hours and fifty-six minutes and traveling up to 17,545 miles per hour.

In January 1963, Glenn was assigned to Project Apollo planning, specializing in the design and development of the spacecraft and flight control systems. He retired from NASA and the Marine Corps as a Colonel in 1964 to go into private business and enter politics. He was elected U.S. Senator from Ohio in November 1974.

Invested 1969 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984

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