December 8, 2016

Goodbye to John Glenn.

The astronaut hero was 95. 

I remember the TV dragged into the classroom in 1962 and the announcement that we were to witness "history in the making"....

52 comments:

exhelodrvr1 said...

Semper Fi, Senator!

David said...

Godspeed, John Glenn.

Fernandinande said...

I recall him describing the Mercury-Atlas launch, saying something like (paraphrase) "It was 9 Gs acceleration for a while, and I was going faster and faster and suddenly it didn't seem like such a good idea."

Bob Ellison said...

That was a man.

Spiros Pappas said...

"History in the making" for me it was watching the Challenger explode in my elementary school library. A sad day!

traditionalguy said...

A Presbyterian Leatherneck gone to guard the streets of Heaven.

Bay Area Guy said...

A genuine American hero, Godspeed.

(However, not a very good Senator, though....)

Trivia Question: How many other astronauts, if any, held elective office?

John said...

Do you remember the cardboard mockup of a Mercury Capsule provided by NASA as an educational aide? I do, it sat in the lobby of my elementary school and we could climb in and pretend to be a Mercury Astronaut.

Big Mike said...

As I commented over on Instapundit, I believed at the time and still believe today that Glenn sold his integrity for a second trip into space when he stonewalled Fred Thompson's Special Senate Investigative Committee.

Johnny Sokko said...

I prefer to think of him as a great Marine pilot and a great astronaut. A truly great American.

OTOH, he was a mediocre politician.

RIP

Fabi said...

I'll masturbate to the Marine Corps Hymm in his honor.

Fabi said...

**Hymn**

Big Mike said...

@Bay Area Guy, I know of two. Apollo 17 geologist Jack Schmidt was a senator from Nee Mexico and Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert was elected to the House of Representatives but died before taking office (some folks could use s touch more luck in their lives).

eddie willers said...

I remember my father trying to explain how Glenn was the new Lindberg. I wasn't sure what he meant until I watched that awesome ticker tape parade.

rcocean said...

A man who ruined his "hero status" by going into politics and being a complete jackass.

Like McCain he was involved in the S&L scandal and escaped punishment by being a member of the Senate club and having (D) after his name.

rhhardin said...

The only history in the making I remember was the moon landing in 1969, that I watched in the lobby of the Reef Hotel in Honolulu. Nothing on Glenn. There was some space shot when I was in college but I didn't pay attention.

bagoh20 said...

We may have lost a heroic rocket man, but we have millions of tender snowflakes to take his place. Unfortunately, snowflakes cannot challenge gravity, and with enough of them around no useful work can get done.

Wait. Snow angels. We'll have snow angels.

Fred Drinkwater said...

I'll say "Shepard's Prayer" for him.

Fred Drinkwater said...

I'll say "Shepard's Prayer" for him.

Fred Drinkwater said...

I click "Publish" one time, log in if necessary, and for the last two days always get double-posted.

Bill said...

Almighty ruler of the all
Whose power extends to great and small,
Who guides the stars with steadfast law,
Whose least creation fills with awe—
Oh grant Thy mercy and Thy grace
To those who venture into space.

— Robert A. Heinlein (1947)

cubanbob said...

Ever see a Mercury capsule up close? Got to have a pair the size of cannonballs to get into one of them especially at a time when our rockets had a bad habit of blowing up. I'm not interested in hearing about or reading comments about John Glenn the politician. Let us remember the combat veteran, test pilot astronaut and genuine American hero John Glenn. RIP.

readering said...

I like this quote of his I read today: “As I hurtled through space, 1 thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.”

CWJ said...

It's about time.

Bumsurf said...

Spare us the political comments. John Glenn's courage riding that stick of dynamite is all I need to remember of him.

CWJ said...
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CWJ said...

Spare us the political comments. Adolph Hitler's courage carrying dispatches trench to trench through no man's land is all I need to remember of him. Yes. It's a cheap shot.

coupe said...

In his bio it says he had 9000 flying hours in 15 years of flying. He flew mostly fighters which at most have a 2 hour flight time, maybe 6 with air refueling. Course you did that twice a day usually.

Any way you look at it, that man spent very little time at a desk!

CWJ said...

"Any way you look at it, that man spent very little time at a desk!"

Except for the the 34 years from 1965 to. 1999.

Bad Lieutenant said...

CWJ, you're obviously committed. Why don't you tell us about every little bad thing he did. That is, exactly what he did during the Keating five and exactly how much money he got out of it and exactly what he did or didn't do or was supposed to do and not do. Or anything else, beat his dog, bad tipper, what else do you have?

Then we can move on because nobody cares. I don't know if the world was going to be saved if he had not been bribed with another ride into space but you know what, if that was the man's price than that was the man's price. Neither of us has been into space so neither of us knows if it was worth it.

You can't bribe too many politicians with rides into space. So maybe you could let this one go, unless it meant that we lost the Cold War to the Russians, and I think we won the Cold War, thanks in part to his ride into space, so you know what, I guess it's okay. This time.

But agreed, no more bribing Congressmen with rides into space!

Bad Lieutenant said...

That said, traditional guy, was it the Presbyterian or the leatherneck in him that made him take bribes and commit political corruption? I can't stand the way you're always labeling people.

Original Mike said...

"Ever see a Mercury capsule up close? Got to have a pair the size of cannonballs to get into one of them especially at a time when our rockets had a bad habit of blowing up."

I liked Krauthammer's comment about his courage. When they strap you in the capsule, close the door, and then retreat to a concrete bunker 3 miles away, you can be under no illusions about what your doing.

cubanbob said...

Original Mike said...
"Ever see a Mercury capsule up close? Got to have a pair the size of cannonballs to get into one of them especially at a time when our rockets had a bad habit of blowing up."

I liked Krauthammer's comment about his courage. When they strap you in the capsule, close the door, and then retreat to a concrete bunker 3 miles away, you can be under no illusions about what your doing."

And let's not forget all of this was a rush job designed and built by the low cost bidder. Me,I would have preferred to have been 5 miles away in the bunker as an added safety precaution. Why take chances?

Big Mike said...

So maybe you could let this one go.

@Bad Lt, I think you've confused CWJ with me. I won't let it go because I'm an old fashioned sort of guy who believes that integrity is important. Especially in military officers.

And by 1997 the cold war had been over for a decade, give or take.

rcocean said...

"Adolph Hitler's courage carrying dispatches trench to trench through no man's land is all I need to remember of him."

Hey, and lets not forget Mao's courageous "Long march", Mussolini's war service, Julius Rosenberg's (greatest generation) service during WW2, or Stalin's amazing military record during the Russo-Polish war of 1920.

John Glenn seems to be a big hero to those born before a certain date, who remember him as a astronaut. To the rest of us, he was just another corrupt, liberal, asshole Senator.

MountainMan said...

I was an 11 year old 5th grader on February 20, 1962, and at home from school with a really bad cold. After several delays in his flight, John Glenn finally launched for his 3 orbits that morning and I was glued to the TV all day long while lying in bed. For a young boy who was fascinated with the space program it was a great stroke of luck to be sick that day. I have never forgotten it.

And and interesting bit of trivia: During his service as a Marine jet fighter pilot in Korea in 1952-53 Glenn had has his wingman on most of his missions another great Marine Corps pilot, Ted Williams. And Ted, who, like Glenn, had also served in WWII, was as great a pilot as he was a ballplayer.

David said...

"But agreed, no more bribing Congressmen with rides into space!"

There are some we could send on that one way Mars mission.

David said...

Never knew that Williams flew wing for Glenn. Williams would have made a great original issue astronaut. The ones who came later were a bit more plain vanilla.

Big Mike said...

@David, Ted Williams was four inches too tall to be a Mercury astronaut. They were limited to 5'11" and 180 pounds because the capsule was so small.

EDH said...

What is it that makes people want to slug it out with former astronauts?

Photos

Man Who Hit Sen. Glenn Is Found Innocent by Reason of Insanity
February 09, 1990, AP

WASHINGTON — The man who slugged Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) during a television interview last October was found innocent by reason of insanity Thursday and ordered to undergo treatment for mental illness.

U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson ordered Michael Breen, 31, of Washington, to remain at an in-patient psychiatric hospital until he can prove in court that he does not pose a risk to others.

Breen encountered the senator on Oct. 25 at an outdoor television interview, lunged at him from the side and landed a solid right to the jaw. Aside from redness and a few days of soreness, Glenn, a 68-year-old ex-Marine, was unharmed.

Defense attorney Philip Inglima acknowledged that Breen hit Glenn. The altercation was taped by a television camera and broadcast nationwide.

According to the criminal complaint filed against him, Breen told police that he was trying to get the attention of Pope John Paul II and prevent a nuclear war.

A day earlier, Breen had been detained by U.S. Capitol Police and the Secret Service after breaking through a police line and trying to reach out to Vice President Dan Quayle's motorcade, officials said.

Bay Area Guy said...

John Glenn and Ted Williams made a mighty fine duo, I'd say.

God Bless the Marine Corps!

Snowflakes, pajama boys and Beta Males need not apply.

coupe said...
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MikeD said...

I'm sorry, Alan Shepard, as the first to fly a Mercury capsule into space has always been my hero. Glenn, after Alan proved it worked, got to go round, not remotely as important as Shepard's proof of concept.

Thorley Winston said...

John Glenn seems to be a big hero to those born before a certain date, who remember him as a astronaut. To the rest of us, he was just another corrupt, liberal, asshole Senator.

I suppose I’m in the latter category and even his accomplishments as an astronaut are marred by the vanity trip he took as a political payoff in 1998 that served no purpose other than to further accelerate the demise of the space program. Either way, it's not worth being upset about since his death will be mostly forgotten by this time next week.

Bad Lieutenant said...

All right, Big Mike, please by all means elaborate exactly what John Glenn did wrong. I'll listen. Was it the same as John McCain? Not that I understand very much about the Keating Five.

mockturtle said...

A real man who loved his wife and his country. We are the poorer for his passing.

mikee said...

John Glen flew into space aboard a Shuttle at 77, as NASA attempted to retain enough funding to keep the Shuttle flying. He was the third member of Congress to get this ultimate junket flight. Yay, Democrats who require special treatment to award funding!

Big Mike said...

@Bad Lt, I'll be pleased to fill you in.

Back in 1997 creditable evidence arose that the election of 1996 had been tainted by massive illegal campaign contributions coming from Red China and given to the DNC and to Bill Clinton's second presidential campaign. The Senate was at that time composed of 55 Republicans and 45 Democrats. Fred Thompson (R-Tennessee) as chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs led hearings into these allegations. John Glenn (D-Ohio) was the ranking minority member. Glenn did everything he could to prevent Thompson from getting testimony on the record regarding possible illegal contributions to Clinton's campaign, and he and Thompson got in each other's faces quite a bit before the whole sorry spectacle came to a sputtering halt. Ninety-four witnesses refused to testify, pleaded the Fifth, or fled the country.

In 1998, after his successful efforts to stymie the investigation, John Glenn rode the Shuttle back into space.

Alan said...

MikeD,

True, Shepard was first, but he was purely a passenger. Glenn at least got to pilot his craft a bit whilst orbiting (and he caused it to de-orbit, as well).

Anybody who strapped himself into a Mercury capsule is a hero to me. :)

coupe said...
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mikee said...

The Mercury capsules have to be seen to be believed. They are aluminum cans held together with rivets, with only polymer gaskets and SwageLok fittings keeping the deadly vacuum of space at bay. Riding in one successfully deserves a lifetime of recognition.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Thank you, Big Mike. That is obviously very concerning. I suppose I had known it, but had forgotten it.

Nothing to do with the Keating Five at all....oh but he was involved in that too. John McCain can't seem to chew a bite of food without tasting that dirty money in his past, but it seems to have rolled right off of Glenn's back. That's really too bad.

I wonder what his motivations were. A man who has been to space should be beyond such things. (Frankly I'm sure he would have got the second space shot anyway.) Maybe the Space Program experience gave him a taste for Big Government.