First American to Orbit Earth, John Glenn Dead at 95
Former astronaut and US senator, John Glenn has died at age 95. Glenn died, surrounded by family and loved ones at an Ohio State University hospital in Columbus the morning of December 8, 2016. 73 years of Glenn’s remarkable and inspiring life were spent with wife, Annie.
John Glenn: the early years
Born in Cambridge, Ohio in 1921, Glenn’s obsession with flight would last a lifetime. Instantly, at age 10, Charles Lindbergh’s legendary Atlantic flight would solidify Glenn’s dream of becoming a pilot. Later, Glenn himself would make history in 1962 completing three Earth orbits in a small spacecraft called Friendship 7.
While attending Muskingum College in New Concord, Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. A short time later, in 1943, Glenn would both wed his longtime sweetheart and join the Marine Corps. Ultimately, Glenn would fly nearly 150 combat mission during WWII and the Korean War. During the final week of the Korean War, Glenn shot down three enemy fighter jets, earning him multiple awards. Among those awards, six Distinguished Fighting Crosses.
John Glenn: astronaut
Through the 1950s, Glenn continued his love of flying as a test pilot for military aircraft. During this time, he would set the speed record for transcontinental flight, zipping from New York to Los Angeles in only 3:23. Now, nationally recognized as a top-tier pilot, John Glenn was prime for spaceflight. Not to mention, the impeccable timing with the US’s currently burgeoning space program.
Upon scouting talented pilots to be the first astronauts, John Glenn joined NASA in 1959. Along side six other pilots, known as the “Mercury 7,” the men became instant heroes. Embarking on an Atlas rocket in 1962, Glenn would become the third American in space, and the first to orbit planet Earth.
Later, in a Life Magazine interview, Glenn remembered the stars in space, comparing them to fireflies standing still in a field. Also, this flight experienced a critical error. Despite the turbulent and treacherous voyage, Glenn would land and safely board the USS Noa. Regardless of the danger, Glenn’s first words aboard the ship were, simply, “Boy, that was a real fireball of a ride!” Glenn’s stoic nature would earned him the life-long reputation of being cool under pressure.
John Glenn: politician
Ultimately, the historic mission would earn Glenn and the other astronauts a New York City ticker tape parade. In attendance, more than 4-million people showing their support and admiration for John. In fact, then president, John Kennedy ordered Glenn to never fly again because he was too valuable as a national hero.
John Glenn would go on to live an inspirational life of several worldly accomplishments. He was a pivotal figure in the emergence of NASA. Not to mention, he celebrated several decades as a successful politician and senator.
Social media and news networks are flooding with dear love and memories of Glenn’s life. Thousands of astronauts, celebrities, politicians and more are expressing their love and remembrances.
John Herschel Glenn Jr.
July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016