John Glenn

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John H. Glenn, Jr.
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
December 24, 1974 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Howard Metzenbaum
Succeeded by George Voinovich
Personal details
Born July 18, 1921 (1921-07-18) (age 94)
Cambridge, Ohio, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Annie Glenn
Religion Presbyterian

John Herschel Glenn Jr. (born July 18, 1921) is a former astronaut and United States Senator. He is best known for being the first American to orbit the Earth as an astronaut for NASA. After becoming famous as an astronaut he went into politics and served as a Senator from his home state of Ohio from 1974-1999. In 1998, he made his second spaceflight at the age of 77 years. He is the oldest man ever in outer space.[1] After the death of senator Edward Brooke in January 2015, he became the oldest living former U.S. senator.

Early life[change | change source]

John Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio, to John Glenn, Sr. and Teresa (née Sproat).[2] He was raised in New Concord, Ohio. Glenn studied Engineering at Muskingum College, and received his private pilot's license for physics course credit in 1941. He received a bachelor of science at Muskingum College in 1942.

Career[change | change source]

Glenn joined the United States Navy in 1942 and became a pilot. He switched to the United States Marine Corps shortly afterwards. He served as a pilot in World War II and flew missions over the Pacific Ocean.

Glenn stayed in the Marines after the war and again saw combat in the Korean War, where he shot down three enemy planes and flew in 63 combat missions. On July 16, 1957, then-Major Glenn set the Transcontinental air speed record, flying a F8U-1 Crusader from NAS Los Alamitos to Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, in 3 hours, 23 minutes, and 8.4 seconds.

Project Bullet, as the mission was called, provided both the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed, and the first continuous transcontinental panoramic photograph of the United States. Glenn was awarded his fifth Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission.

In 1958 he joined Project Mercury. He was the oldest of the seven pilots selected. Although Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom flew in outer space before Glenn did, Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, as neither of the previous two had made a full orbit. He flew a Mercury spacecraft called Friendship 7. His first words when reaching orbit were "Zero G and I feel fine." After successfully finishing his flight he became a hero in the US. He retired from NASA and the military after his flight.

He went into business and was an executive for Royal Crown Cola. Glenn was friends with Robert F. Kennedy, and Kennedy, an Attorney General and US Senator, told Glenn he should run for office. He planned on running for Senate in 1964, but an accident at home led him to decide not to. In 1974 he did run for Senate as a Democrat, defeating Senator Howard Metzenbaum in the primary. Glenn went on to beat Ralph J. Perk in the general election. He was reelected to the Senate in 1980. In 1984 he ran for President but the Democratic nomination went to Walter Mondale, who lost to Ronald Reagan in the general election. Glenn was a popular senator and was reelected several more times. In 1998 he returned to space, flying on the Space Shuttle Discovery. He is the oldest person to fly in space and the only sitting US Senator to fly in space. He retired from the Senate in 1999. He helped set up the John Glenn School of Public affairs at Ohio State University. He was given the metal of Freedom in 2012 by President Barack Obama

Personal life[change | change source]

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. Glenn lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]