Thursday, December 8, 2016

John Glenn - An American Hero - Dead at 95


Col John Herschel Glenn, Jr.,  died today at the ripe old age of 95.  John Glenn (born in July 18, 1921) had just graduated college when WW II started up in 1941.  He ended up in the US Marine Corps and became a Marine fighter pilot flying 59 combat missions in the Marshall Islands in his F4U Corsair.  He was promoted to captain shortly before the end of the war.  During the Korean War (sometimes called the Korean Conflict by the more PC) he flew the F9F Panther jet interceptor on 63 combat missions getting the nickaname "magnet ass" because he seemed to attract so much enemy flack.  Actually, it was because he liked to fly in low and actually "see the enemy" at whom he we shooting rather than taking "pot shots" from a safer, higher altitude.  On a two occasions he came home with 250 combat holes in his planes.  Later he logged 27 more combat missions in the newer F-86F Sabre and shot down three MiG-15s near the Yalu river.  That is a LOT of combat missions!!

Anyway, after the Korean peace talks, on July 16, 1957, John flew a supersonic, transcontinental flight from NAS L.A. to Bennett Field NY in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8.3 seconds - despite three subsonic re-fuelings to set a new (at that time) world record.  Quite a feat considering that he took time to fly over his home town at Mach 2 to rattle the windows and let them know that he just went by the place.

Also, Glenn became 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.  This made Glenn the third American in space and the fifth human being in space.  After that, the president(s) would not let him back into space to risk losing a truly great American hero.

But, Robert Kennedy suggested back in Dec of '62 that John run for the US Senate.  In 1970 he did run and he was narrowly defeated in a general election race to Howard Metzenbaum.  In 1974 he ran again and he defeated Metzenbaum with what was called the "Gold Star Mother's" speech.   He ran for president much later (once) but would not bow to "party politics".  He was described a "painfully honest" man and not suited for a run for president.  Way too honest to be a politician.  But, he remained a Senator for 30 years.  The folks from Ohio seemed to like his home-town honesty.

Col John Glenn returned space on October 29, 1998.  This time at the age of 77.  NASA wanted to know what would be the effect of space on the elderly in case they wanted to go further into our solar system.  They discovered that John handled it just fine.

All in all, good bye John.  We will miss you.  Truly the last of dying breed.  A truly great American Hero. Godspeed John. 


Credit:  Almost all of this info was extracted in parts and pieces from Wikipedia and various Fox News shows.  Thanks guys.

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