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John Herschel Glenn Jr.(born July 18, 1921) is a retired United States Marine Corps pilot, a former astronaut and United States senator who was the first American and third person to orbit the Earth. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA'smarker Mercury program as a member of NASA's original astronaut group. He orbited the Earth in Friendship 7 in 1962. After retiring from NASA, he entered politics as a Democrat and represented Ohiomarker in the United States Senate from 1974 to 1999.

Glenn received a Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978 and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Famemarker in 1990. In 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Shuttle programs, when at age 77, he flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95). Glenn and M. Scott Carpenter are the last surviving members of the Mercury Seven.

Early life and military career

Military portrait of John Glenn
John Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohiomarker, to John Herschel Glenn and his wife Clara Sproat. He was raised in New Concord, Ohiomarker. Glenn studied chemistry at Muskingum College, and received his private pilot's license as physics course credit in 1941. When the Attack on Pearl Harbormarker brought the United States into World War II, he dropped out of college and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. However, the Army did not call him up, and in March 1942 he enlisted as a United States Navy aviation cadet. He trained at Naval Air Station Olathemarker, where he made his first solo flight in a military aircraft. In 1943, during advanced training at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christimarker, he was reassigned to the United States Marine Corps.After completing his training, Glenn was assigned to Marine squadron VMJ-353, flying R4D transport planes. He eventually managed a transfer to VMF-155 as an F4U Corsair pilot, and flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific. He saw action over the Marshall Islandsmarker, where he attacked anti-aircraft batteries and dropped bombs on Maloelapmarker. In 1945, he was assigned to Naval Air Station Patuxent Rivermarker, Marylandmarker, where he was promoted to captain shortly before the war ended.

Following the war, Glenn flew patrol missions in North China with VMF-218, until his squadron was transfered to Guammarker. He became a flight instructor at Naval Air Station Corpus Christimarker, Texasmarker in 1948, then attended the amphibious warfare school and received a staff assignment.

Glenn was next assigned to VMF-311, flying the new F9F Panther jet interceptor. He flew his Panther in 63 combat missions during the Korean War, gaining the dubious nickname "Magnet Ass" from his apparent ability to attract enemy flak. Twice he returned to base with over 250 flak holes in his aircraft. Glenn flew for a time with Ted Williams, a future hall of famemarker baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, as his wingman.

Glenn flew a second Korean combat tour on an interservice exchange program with the United States Air Force. He logged 27 missions in the faster F-86 Sabre, and shot down three MiG-15s near the Yalu River in the final days before the cease fire.

Glenn returned to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, appointed to the Test Pilot School (class 12). He served as an armament officer, flying planes to high altitude and testing their cannons and machine guns. On July 16, 1957, Glenn completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight in a Vought F8U-1 Crusader. The flight from NAS Los Alamitos, Californiamarker to Floyd Bennett Fieldmarker, New Yorkmarker took 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8.4 seconds. As he passed over his hometown, a child in the neighborhood reportedly ran to the Glenn house shouting "Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb!" as the sonic boom shook the town. Project Bullet, the name of the mission, included both the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed (despite three in-flight refuelings during which speeds dropped below 300 mph), and the first continuous transcontinental panoramic photograph of the United Statesmarker. Glenn received his fifth Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission.

NASA

In April 1959, despite the fact that Glenn failed to earn the required college degree, he was assigned to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration marker as one of the original group of Mercury astronauts for the Mercury Project. During this time, he remained an officer in the Marine Corps. He became the fifth person in space and the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the "Mercury Atlas 6" mission, circling the globe three times during a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds. During the mission there was concern that his heat shield had failed and that his craft would burn up on re-entry, but he made his splashdown safely. Glenn was celebrated as a national hero, and received a ticker-tape parade reminiscent of Lindbergh. His fame and political attributes were noted by the Kennedys, and he became a personal friend of the Kennedy family.

In July 1962, Glenn testified before the House Space Committee in favor of excluding women from the NASA astronaut program. The impact of such testimony, from so prestigious a national hero, is debatable, but no female astronaut flew on a NASA mission until Sally Ride in 1983, and none piloted a mission until Eileen Collins in 1995, more than thirty years after the hearings.

Glenn resigned from NASA six weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to run for office in his home state of Ohio. In 1965, Glenn retired as a Colonel from the USMC and entered the business world as an executive for Royal Crown Cola. He reentered politics later on. Some accounts of Glenn's years at NASA suggest that Glenn was prevented from flying in Gemini or Apollo missions, either by President Kennedy, himself, or by NASA management, on the grounds that the subsequent loss of a national hero of such stature would seriously harm or even end the manned space program. Yet Glenn resigned from the astronaut corps on January 30, 1964, well before even the first Gemini crew was assigned.

Three decades later, after serving 24 years in the Senate, Glenn lifted off for a second space flight on October 29, 1998, on Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-95, in order to study the effects of space flight on the elderly. At age 77, Glenn became the oldest person ever to go into space. Glenn's participation in the nine-day mission was criticized by some in the space community as a junket for a politician. Others noted that Glenn's flight offered valuable research on weightlessness and other aspects of space flight on the same person at two points in life thirty-six years apart — by far the longest interval between space flights by the same person — providing information on the effects of spaceflight and weightlessness on the elderly, with an ideal control. Upon the safe return of the STS-95 crew, Glenn (and his crewmates) received another ticker-tape parade, making him the ninth (and, , latest) person to have ever received multiple ticker-tape parades in his lifetime (as opposed to that of a sports team).

Glenn vehemently opposed the sending of Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist, to the International Space Station on the grounds that Tito's trip served no scientific purpose.

The NASA John H.marker Glenn Research Center at Lewis Fieldmarker in Clevelandmarker, Ohiomarker is named after him. Also, Senator John Glenn Highway runs along a stretch of I-480 across from the NASA Glenn Research Centermarker. Colonel Glenn Highway, which runs by Wright-Patterson Air Force Basemarker and Wright State Universitymarker near Dayton, Ohiomarker, and John Glenn High School in his hometown of New Concord, Ohio, and Col. John Glenn Elementary in Seven Hills, Ohio were named for him as well.

Life in politics

In 1964, John Glenn announced that he was resigning from the space program to run against incumbent Senator Stephen M. Young in the Democratic primary, but he was forced to withdraw when he hit his head on a bathtub. He sustained a concussion and injured his inner ear. Recovery left him unable to campaign at that time.

Glenn remained close to the Kennedy family and was with Sen. Robert F. Kennedy when Kennedy was assassinated.

In 1970, Glenn contested for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate; Glenn was defeated in the primary by fellow Democrat Howard Metzenbaum, who went on to lose the general election race to Robert Taft Jr. In the bitterly-fought 1974 Democratic primary rematch, Glenn defeated Metzenbaum, who had earlier been appointed by Ohio governor John J. Gilligan to fill out the Senate term of William B. Saxbe, who had resigned to become U.S. attorney general. Metzenbaum was running to retain the seat to which he had been appointed. In the 1974 general election, Glenn defeated Republican Mayor of Clevelandmarker, Ralph Perk, beginning a Senate career that would continue until 1999. Metzenbaum won Ohio's other Senate seat by defeating Taft in 1976. In 1980, Glenn won re-election to the seat, defeating Republican challenger Jim Betts. In 1986, Glenn defeated challenger U.S. Representative Tom Kindness.

In 1990, Glenn was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Famemarker.

Glenn was one of the five U. S. Senators caught up in the Lincoln Savings and Keating Five Scandal after accepting a $200,000 contribution from Charles Keating. Glenn and Republican Senator John McCain were the only Senators exonerated. The Senate Commission found that Glenn had exercised "poor judgment." The association of his name with the scandal gave Republicans hope that he would be vulnerable in the 1992 campaign. Instead, Glenn handily defeated Lieutenant Governor R. Michael DeWine to keep his seat. This 1992 re-election victory was the last time a Democrat won a statewide race in Ohio until 2006; DeWine later won Metzenbaum's seat upon his retirement.

In 1998, Glenn declined to run for re-election. The Democratic party chose Mary Boyle to replace him, but she was defeated by then-Ohio Gov. George Voinovich.

In 1976 Glenn was a candidate for the Democratic vice presidential nomination. However, Glenn's keynote address at the Democratic National Convention failed to impress the delegates and the nomination went to veteran politician Walter Mondale. Glenn also mounted a bid to be the 1984 Democratic Presidential candidate. Early on, Glenn polled well, coming in a strong second to Mondale. It was also surmised that he would be aided by the almost-simultaneous release of The Right Stuff, a film about the original seven Mercury astronauts in which it was generally agreed that Glenn's character was portrayed(by actor Ed Harris) in an appealing manner. However, Glenn thought it would be bad form to capitalize on this kind of publicity, and didn't make much of these achievements in the period leading up to the Iowa caucuses. Media attention turned to Mondale, Gary Hart, and Jesse Jackson, and by the time his campaign started playing up The Right Stuff for the New Hampshire primary, it was already too late. His failed 1984 presidential bid left Glenn with over $3 million in campaign debt that took over 20 years to pay off.

During his time in the Senate, he was chief author of the 1978 Nonproliferation Act, served as chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1987 until 1995, sat on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees and the Special Committee on Aging. Once Republicans regained control of the Senate, Glenn also served as the ranking minority member on a special Senate investigative committee chaired by Tennesseemarker senator Fred Dalton Thompson that looked into alleged illegal donations by China to U.S. political campaigns for the 1996 election. There was considerable acrimony between the two very high-profile senators during the life of this committee, which reached a level of public disagreement between the five leaders of a Congressional committee seldom seen in recent years.

In 2004, John Glenn was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholarsmarker of the Smithsonian Institutionmarker at a presentation in Columbus.

Public affairs institute

Glenn helped found the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy at the Ohio State Universitymarker to encourage public service in 1998. On July 1, 2006 the institute merged with OSU's School of Public Policy and Management to become the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. Today he holds an adjunct professorship at both the Glenn School and Ohio State's Department of Political Science.

Personal life



On April 6, 1943, Glenn married his childhood sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor. They had met in New Concord and played together in the school band. They are the parents of two children. Both Glenn and his wife attended Muskingum College in New Concord.

Glenn is member of the Glenn–Macintosh clan of Scotlandmarker. In 1963, Glenn received a letter from a young girl in Sheffieldmarker, England, named Anne Glenn. The letter, congratulating him on his orbit around the Earth, enclosed a family tree showing that Anne's father, George Arthur Thomas Glenn, and John Glenn were cousins.

Glenn was a member of Demolay International, the Masonic youth organization, and is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church.

Glenn's former New Concord home has been made into an education center, teaching American history beginning in 1944.

On August 4, 2006, Glenn and his wife were injured in an automobile accident on I-270 near Columbus, Ohio. They were released from the hospital two days later. Glenn suffered a fractured sternum and a "very sore chest", as he remarked. Annie Glenn was treated for minor injuries. Glenn was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way.

On September 5, 2009, John and Annie Glenn dotted the "i" during The Ohio State University'smarker Script Ohio marching band performance, at the Ohio State vs Navy football game halftime show. Bob Hope, Woody Hayes, Buster Douglas, Dr. E. Gordon Gee, Novice Fawcett, Robert Ries and Jack Nicklaus are the only other non-band members to receive this honor.

Medals and decorations

John Glenn in 1998


Civilian




See also



References

Notes


Bibliography


  • Fenno, Richard F., Jr. The Presidential Odyssey of John Glenn. CQ Press, 1990. 302 pp.


Web




External links




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