A military pilot, astronaut, engineer, businessman, and four-time senator, John Glenn was a man who was used to trying on different caps in his life. He is considered a national hero and a dedicated countryman who served the military, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and later the people of his nation.
Without a doubt, he was a damn good suitor. Maybe you wanted to know more about this Glenn, well, here is your reward! Beyond his biography, learn more about his wife and the circumstances of his death.
John Glenn’s Biography
John Glenn, (born July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio), was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth – an astonishing feat he accomplished in 1962 by completing three orbits of the Earth and returning successfully. Before he made history in space, he was just a small-town boy who loved to fly. When he was eight years old, he fell in love with airplanes after his father paid a pilot to let them fly in one. Years later, while studying chemistry at college, he began taking flying lessons and obtained his pilot’s license in July 1941.
Flying became a career option later that year when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. John Glenn decided to drop out of college and join the Army Air Corps. He was not recruited, so he joined the Navy, where he received rigorous combat flight training and was later ordered to join the Marines.
By the end of World War II, he had flown 59 combat missions in the Pacific. He decided to stay with the Marines to train new pilots and test aircraft.
The Korean War meant that he still served in the military and he was ordered to participate in the war effort in Korea, where he flew 63 more missions, applied for an Air Prize exchange program, and flew 27 more missions. Glenn received numerous awards for his service in both wars, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, which he won six times, and the Air Medal with 18 clusters.
Soon after the end of the war, Glenn applied to train as a test pilot at the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, where he worked on and flew pioneer aircraft such as the F-8 fighter. He completed “Project Bullet”, the first transcontinental flight at supersonic speed, and flew from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes. This new speed record made him a minor celebrity in America.
Glenn, who was always a daring pilot, welcomed a new challenge when he was selected as one of the Mercury 7 astronauts for the U.S. space program. On February 20, 1962, he piloted the Friendship 7 spacecraft, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. Despite the problems that occurred during the flight, such as the defective thruster, which forced him to steer the spacecraft manually, and the possibility that the heat shield had been destroyed, which meant that he would be burned to a crisp on re-entry, Glen managed to land successfully almost 5 hours after launch. In an instant, he became a national hero.
This legend retired from the space program in 1964 to serve the public. One month after announcing his intention to run for the Senate, he suffered a serious injury and had to withdraw his candidacy in order to recover. Meanwhile, he retired from the Navy and entered the business world as Vice President of Domestic Corporate Development at Royal Crown Cola International Ltd, the soft drinks company, where he later rose to the position of President.
In 1970 he tried his hand at politics again and lost in the primaries. In 1974, however, he was elected US Senator of Ohio and was subsequently re-elected three times. In 1984, he tried to run for president as a Democratic candidate but was unsuccessful.
Glenn, who still loves flying, returned to space in 1988, at the age of 77, becoming the oldest person to ever travel in space.
His Wife And Family
John Glenn married his childhood friend and high school sweetheart Anna Margaret Castor, who was nicknamed Annie, on April 6, 1943. Both parents were long-time friends, so John and Annie grew up practically in the same nursery. They had two children together – John David and Carolyn Ann, born in 1945 and 1947 respectively; and two grandchildren.
After retiring from public service, John and Annie founded the John Glenn Institute for Public Affairs at Ohio State University – where he later became Associate Professor of Political Science to encourage young people to take an interest in public service. He and Annie remained married for 73 years until his death.
When Did John Glenn Die And What Did He Die Of?
John Glenn was admitted to the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus in early December 2016. His health had been deteriorating for some time. As his family gathered at the hospital, Glenn passed away on December 8, 2016, right at the medical center. The cause of his death was never disclosed; he was 95 years old and the last surviving Mercury 7 astronaut. President Obama declared that the flags should be raised at half-mast until Glenn’s funeral. He received many other awards during his life, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.