Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Explorers & Workers
  Mercury astronaut candidates and finalists (Page 1)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search


This topic is 2 pages long:   1  2 
next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Mercury astronaut candidates and finalists
KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 04-13-2004 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am grateful to David Shayler (via Colin Burgess) for supplying the following list.

It shows the names of most of the 32 finalists (sometimes called semifinalists) from the 1959 Project Mercury selection process.

They were drawn from an initial pool of 508 "jet-qualified military test pilots" who met several other criteria. Neil Armstrong was a civilian test pilot at the time and, so, did not qualify. Chuck Yeager did not have the required college degree. Incidentally, For Spacious Skies explains how Carpenter and Glenn qualified w/o college degrees.

Sixty-nine men were called for the Phase 2 interviews, briefings, and testing held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 1959. Thirty-two advanced to Lovelace and Wright-Patterson. With its wealth of high-IQ candidates, the selection committee sent only those candidates with 130+ IQs.

At Lovelace (Phase 3) one candidate was medically disqualified by a cardiac condition.

By Phase 5 (March 1959), the working group had produced numerical rankings of the remaining 31. Thirteen were declared recommended "with medical reservations." This left eighteen candidates actively considered by the Selection Committee members. At the end of March, they chose candidates ranked 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 15.

I supply guessed given names in brackets based on SETP records and interviews with survivors.

The List (partial)

  • [Larry] Baldwin
  • Bell
  • Scott CARPENTER
  • [Hal W.] Christian
  • Pete Conrad
  • Gordo COOPER
  • [W. J.] Cox
  • Crandall
  • Ekeren
  • [Al] Frazier
  • John GLENN
  • Gus GRISSOM
  • Haward
  • Heyworth
  • [Arch] Iddings
  • Jacobson
  • [Bill] Lawrence [USN?]
  • Jim Lovell
  • Ralston
  • Wally SCHIRRA
  • Shelton
  • Alan SHEPARD
  • Deke SLAYTON
  • Bob Solliday
  • [Jim] Wood [USAF]
That makes 25 - who are the other 7?

taneal1
Member

Posts: 196
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 04-15-2004 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can add a bit of info to this list and a couple of names:
  • Cooper, L. Gordon
  • Shepard, Alan B., jr.
  • Mitchell, John R. C.
  • Conrad, Charles
  • Schirra, Walter M.
  • Shelton, Donald B.
  • Baldwin, Robert B
  • Cox, Dale W.
  • Ekeren, Halvor M.
  • Hayward, Thomas B.
  • Jacobsen, Robert H.
  • Lovell, James A.
  • Christian, Harold W.
  • Glenn, John H.
  • Grissom, Virgil I.
  • Heyworth, Lawrence, jr.
  • Ralston, John
  • Wood, James
  • Carpenter, M. Scott
  • Crandall, Hal R.
  • Frazier, Frank D.
  • Iddings, Archie T., jr.
  • Slayton, Donald K.
  • Solliday, Robert E.
  • Tierney, John M.
  • Bell, Robert G.
  • Lawrence, William P.

  • 15 USN
  • 10 USAF
  • 2 USMC
This is 27 of the 32. If anyone has additional names please post!

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 04-15-2004 11:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome!

Thanks very much!!

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 04-16-2004 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Incidentally, we are all in Conrad's debt. It is essentially his account, his vivid recall, of the 1959 selection process that Wolfe shares in The Right Stuff.

Dr. George Ruff adds that the research Wolfe did was staggering: "I was amazed, Ruff said in 1999, "at how much he knew."

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 04-25-2004 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Researchers are particularly interested in the numerical rankings in Group 1 (see my original post). I also do not know that susbsequent groups were numerically ranked, as the organizers of subsequent groups used a different and less rigorous selection protocol.

Medical confidentiality may mean Group 1 rankings are not to be shared, ever. But I have not yet submitted an FOIA request.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28071
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-24-2004 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
[Bill] Lawrence [USN?]

From dcmilitary.com:

What Lawrence didn't mention was that he himself was one of the 32 finalists for the astronaut program in the early days when Shepard and Glenn were picked to become two of the first seven Mercury astronauts. In his book Space writer James Michener describes Lawrence as "perhaps the ablest" pilot Pax River ever produced - including Shepard AND Glenn. Be that as it may, Lawrence had a minor heart murmur, which was sufficient to knock him out of the final selection. It is no stretch to conjecture that without that minor murmur, the first American into space might have been Bill Lawrence instead of Alan Shepard.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-29-2004 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Researchers and writers each have their favorite "should have beens" among the 25 of the 32 finalists who were not selected. Lawrence appears to have been Michener's favorite.

Mine is Bob Solliday, NTPS class 20.

Michener's claim about Lawrence's NTPS bona fides, too, sounds like the hyperbole of a fan. Most of the NTPS grads, especially those swept up in the 1959 selection process were elite aviators, each with unique gifts and strenghts. They themselves would discourage language, I think, about so-and-so being the best ever produced by Patuxent. They were all the best.

What-ifs can be useful exercises. But I think, with historical processes like the Mercury selection, one has to respect the facts. Lawrence's heart defect, easily remedied with surgery, was a clear medical disqualification, and NASA was looking for that magic "three 9s"--99.9 percent reliability in systems, machines, and humans.

Lawrence wasn't three 9s in April 1959. Eighteen of the 32 were. And only seven could be chosen.

SPACEFACTS
Member

Posts: 152
From: Germany
Registered: Aug 2006

posted 01-08-2008 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SPACEFACTS   Click Here to Email SPACEFACTS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
About the unsuccessful candidates for the NASA astronaut groups I - III, only a few names are known. Some of them made a military career and a few died.

But what about the others? Has someone biographical information and/or photos about pilots like Harold W. Christian, Dale W. Cox, John R. C. Mitchell, John Ralston, Roy S. Dickey, David M. Glunt, William E. Ramsey, John K. Cochran, Robert J. Vanden-Heuvel or the more candidates?

Delta7
Member

Posts: 1187
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 01-08-2008 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From some of the accounts I've read over the years, some of the unsuccessful candidates for NASA Group III:
  • Mike Adams (later MOL then X-15),
  • Vance Brand
  • Jim Irwin
  • Jack Swigert
  • Ron Evans
  • Robert Shoemaker (later a Vietnam POW),
  • James Roman
  • Greg Neubeck (later MOL selectee)

Delta7
Member

Posts: 1187
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 01-09-2008 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also believe that Mike Collins, Jim Irwin, Dick Gordon and maybe Al Bean were all rejected for NASA Group II.

Irwin was badly injured in an aircraft accident in the early 60's, and although he (obviously) made a complete recovery, NASA was concerned about how well he had actually recovered in 1962 and 1963. For whatever reasons, these concerns were dispelled by 1966.

Dr. Gerard O'Neill, the physicist famous for being a proponent of orbiting space colonies during the 1970s and 80s, was a finalist for NASA Group 6, as was an individual named George Pimentel.

ColinBurgess
Member

Posts: 1585
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 08-18-2009 02:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just out of curiosity, does anyone have any names to add to those supplied in Tom Neal's post of five years ago concerning the original 32 candidates for the first group of astronauts?

Delta7
Member

Posts: 1187
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 08-18-2009 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reading through these posts, I realized I found out an interesting bit of trivia since I last visited this thread. The William Lawrence mentioned in several of the posts was the father of NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence.

Brock
Member

Posts: 30
From: Orlando, Florida
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 08-18-2009 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brock   Click Here to Email Brock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Admiral William Lawrence in addition to being the father of Wendy was also a POW in Vietnam (1967-1973) and later Superintendent of the US Naval Academy. As mentioned previously Robert Shumaker was a POW in Vietnam from 1965-73. I believe Shumaker was turned down for NASA for a medical condition which obviously didn't stop him from flying into combat. Two fellows that could have been at NASA instead languished in Hanoi. Life can be strange.

Delta7
Member

Posts: 1187
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 08-18-2009 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe Shumaker was also grounded from flying by the Navy as a result of the NASA test results, and had a bit of a battle to get put back on flight status, before going off to Viet Nam.

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 976
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 08-30-2009 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does Don Lopez fit in anywhere?

ColinBurgess
Member

Posts: 1585
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 08-30-2009 11:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don Lopez from the NASM? He certainly fits the profile for candidature, but I've never heard of him being part of the Group 1 selection process (although I am still missing the names of four candidates). Did he ever say he was one of those tested?

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 976
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 08-31-2009 02:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought I read somewhere that Don Lopez tried out for thr first group of Astonauts in 1959, but missed out. I tried again in 1962, but was a few months over the age limit.

I think he wrote about it in "Air & Space". But I can't recall the issue.

East-Frisian
Member

Posts: 417
From: Germany
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 08-31-2009 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can find this names too, on the list of spacefacts.

dcfowler1
Member

Posts: 31
From: Eugene, OR
Registered: May 2006

posted 08-31-2009 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dcfowler1   Click Here to Email dcfowler1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Spacefacts lists don't add anything new and tend to not reflect a lot of original research.

taneal1
Member

Posts: 196
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 09-14-2009 12:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ColinBurgess:
I am still missing the names of four candidates.
It sounds like you found another name or two. Can you share?

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 10-14-2009 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are the names of 6 of the 32 Project Mercury finalists missing from the list I posted here about five years ago (see OP upthread).

Documentation TK.

From the USAF:

  • Richard M. Corbett
  • Edward G. Givens, Jr.
  • Alonzo Walter, Jr.
  • Thomas R. Bogan
  • Jack B. Mayo
From the USN:
  • Paul Miller

pokey
Member

Posts: 346
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-18-2009 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any info on Thomas U. McElmurry as an early candidate?

Michael Cassutt
Member

Posts: 272
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 10-19-2009 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
McElmurry was one of the test pilots in the first NASA briefings, but withdrew from consideration at that time. (From a 1993 interview I did with him.)

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 606
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-19-2009 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. McElmurry spoke about it briefly in the interview I did with him, too. Start on page 5.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 10-20-2009 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the event cSers were confused, as I confess I was, by the reference upthread to Thomas U. McElmurry, I offer additional context and commentary by way of explanation.

In December 1958, during Phase One of the selection process for Group 1 astronauts (Project Mercury), NASA screened the service jackets of 508 "jet-qualified military test pilots." I know now, thanks to pokey's question, that Mr. McElmurry was in this group of 508 active-duty military test pilots.

We know that by the end of Phase One, NASA had further identified 110 men who met the "minimum standards" established by NASA's 7 criteria. The plan was to invite all 110 candidates for further evaluation (at what would be called Phase Two), held at the Pentagon and NASA HQ. Speed was a factor, however, and NASA ended up inviting only 69 to Washington, D.C. McElmurry was in this group too.

During Phase Two, therefore, 69 military test pilots reported to the Pentagon and NASA HQ (in two groups, the first arriving February 2, the second on February 9) for interviews and physicals and so on. McElmurry was probably in the February 2 group because in his NASA oral history he reports seeing Shepard, whom we know was in the February 2 group.

So, during Phase Two:

  • Initial screenings found that 5 of the 69 men were too tall (although their medical records had them at 5'11 or less), leaving 64 semifinalists.
  • 8 of the 64 semifinalists declined, leaving 56 men to continue (among them, McElmurry).
  • 56 semifinalists took written tests, submitted to technical and psychiatric interviews, and reviewed their medical histories with flight surgeons.
  • 1 semifinalist was remeasured and found to be too tall (5'11+), leaving 55 men.
  • 8 semifinalists declined (McElmurry appears to have declined at this stage), leaving 47 semifinalists.
  • 15 semifinalists were eliminated.
  • 32 military test pilots proceeded to Phase 3 (Lovelace).
The winnowing process continued through Phases Three and Four. Seven men were selected at Phase Five, culminating in late March 1959.

To restate, McElmurry removed himself from further consideration during Phase Two.

In his NASA oral history, Mr. McElmurry cites two principal issues that caused him to decline. First, he was deaf in his right ear, a sensitive medical fact that emerged during his exit interview with Warren North. (North assured him, he says, that the condition wouldn't be disqualifying.) Second, he says he was unimpressed with the flying opportunities NASA offered.

He "would have competed like a tiger," McElmurry concedes, had he known that lunar missions would eventually be involved. But he was put off, he says, by the notion of being a passenger and not a pilot (an early misconception about Project Mercury).

In closing, I feel an obligation to note one omission and one mistake in the NASA biographical sheet.

McElmurry's date of birth is not given (an omission). The NASA biographical sheet also states that he earned his B.S. in "1940." This must be a mistake. In his oral history, McElmurry says he went directly to Tuscaloosa in August 1945 and earned his degree in less than three years. So BS, 1948?

So what was his date of birth?

If he entered active military duty in 1940, as he reports in his oral history, then McElmurry was probably born in 1921 or 1922. Together with John Glenn (who also had WWII combat experience), he would have been among the oldest of the semifinalists in 1959.

Like most WWII veterans, McElmurry is largely silent about his WWII combat experiences and exploits. He mentions only that Warren North admired his war record during their interview. I only wish we knew more about this man -- apparently much admired by Deke Slayton -- and all the other unsung candidates from 1959.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3094
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-20-2009 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
So what was his date of birth?
According to this page, he was 85 when he died in 2006. Spacefacts' web page lists his birth date as "28.12.1921."

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 10-20-2009 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Francis.

The Texas A&M account makes me think that the linked bio introduces an additional error about the astronaut selection process at NASA:

Remaining on activity military and as a test pilot, McElmurry was chief of the Operations and Training Branch of the USAF Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base and an astronaut candidate in NASA Group 2, selected in 1961 for military astronaut class 1.
Sounds garbled: "astronaut candidate in NASA Group 2, selected in 1961..."?

Further, wasn't NASA Group 2 selected in 1962? And wasn't Group 2's age cutoff 35? (For Group 1, the age cutoff was 40.)

In 1962 McElmurry would have been 41 years old.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3094
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-20-2009 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess, Kris, is that the Texas A&M obituary is misunderstanding / poorly explaining McElmurry's place in Class One of the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, graduating in December 1961 (along with Borman, McDivitt, Buchanan and William Schweickard).

Delta7
Member

Posts: 1187
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 10-20-2009 06:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
From the USAF: Edward G. Givens, Jr.
Interesting that Ed Givens was a finalist for Group 1. As Johnny Carson would put it: "I did not know that!" I always wondered why, given his rather impressive credentials, he wasn't selected before Group 5. Did he also apply for Groups 2 and 3, or did he skip those selection processes?

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 606
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-21-2009 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Mr. McElmurry's case, we (of the JSC Oral History Project) didn't know his date of birth when we put together that biographical data sheet, thus its omission. Those were prepared in advance of interviews, based on available research materials, as a starting point for the interviewer to prepare for the oral history session(s). Missing data was occasionally uncovered during the interview process, but those bios weren't always updated to reflect it. As for the college graduation date, I'm not sure of a reason for the discrepancy. We all make the occasional mistake.

Duke Of URL
Member

Posts: 1306
From: Syracuse, NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 10-21-2009 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Spacefacts.de shows early NASA astronaut candidates who show up in the NOVA documentary shown this summer.

parg1
Member

Posts: 16
From: Wales
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 10-25-2009 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for parg1   Click Here to Email parg1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the lists presented earlier in this thread we have the names of 33 candidates for the 32 candidates interviewed at Lovelace, 31 if Lovell who was eliminated at this stage due to a liver problem. It is clear that at least one of the names relates to one of the 69 candidates interviewed by NASA in early February 1959. According to "Schirra's Space" both Don Shelton (USN) and Robert Baldwin (USN)were eliminated early in the selection process. We also have the names of several of the other candidates:
  • Paul Horwell (USN) who became an "in house" astronaut for North America
  • Howard Lane (USAF) who declined to progress in the First Stage
  • Thomas McElmurry (USAF) who declined at the interview stage.
In Chapter 8 of Charles Wilson's "Project Mercury Candidate Evaluation Program" we have an interesting problem. In Table 8.1 he lists the results of the 31 candidates (unnamed) on the various tests at Lovelace; resulting in 8 candidates not being recommended, 13 being highly recommended, and 10 ranked as Outstanding. However 3 of these were classed as "outstanding with reservations,"one because he was not convinced he wanted to be in the programme, one due to a heart murmur, and one due to high stress under heat testing.

The seven outstanding candidates without reservations were: G, L, K, S, U, Z & EE. The 3 with reservations were R, V & DD. However when the results were announced, the selected candidates were, G, K, R, S, U, Z & EE; with candidate L being dropped. This raises the question of why was he eliminated? was it a political decision to get a favoured candidate into the group or did he decline prior to the highest ranked alternate (R) being given the chance?

It would be useful to know why the change occurred and also the names of the missing candidates from the 69 initially interviewed.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 10-26-2009 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great post, parg1. Thanks so much.

My copy of the WADC Technical Report 59-505 by Charles L. Wilson (cited in THIS NEW OCEAN) arrived on Friday, and it's fascinating reading. The 31 candidates are all identified with letters. It's impossible for me at least to tease out any identities. Candidate K had the highest score for physical fitness (+9.28; table 6.3, p. 79; no one was even close)--so possibly "K" is Carpenter. Hard to tell.

And, you're right (and my account in FOR SPACIOUS SKIES slightly wrong) that those 7 recommended as outstanding w/o reservations were nearly all chosen for the program.

A comparison of Table 8.2 with the narrative describing the final meeting (p. 89) shows that "L" was dropped (or declined) in favor of alternate "R."

Perhaps "L" was a Navy candidate and "R" USAF, who finally overcame his reservations about the program. In this scenario, the service affiliation may have tipped the scales in his favor.

Charles Donlan in a 1966 oral history says: "we knew with two weeks of interviews [early February 1959] the guys we wanted."

At Phase 5, it appears from the rankings in the WADC report that the "guys we wanted" at Phase 2 came back to the Space Task Group Selection Committee practically wrapped in a bow--thanks to the smart people at Lovelace and the AML.

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 606
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-27-2009 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
FYI, Wilson's report is available online from NASA's Tech Reports server.

On a tangent: Does anyone know what happened to Capt Charles L. Wilson? He worked for a few years in the late 1950s/early 1960s at the Aero Medical Lab at Wright-Patterson, then moved to Air Force Systems Command Headquarters in Washington, DC, from about 1963-1965, but then falls off my radar. I've been trying to contact him (if he's still alive!) for some research I'm doing.

taneal1
Member

Posts: 196
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 10-27-2009 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
FANTASTIC Kris! You have completed the list of 32...

I'm certain despite what Wally Schirra states that Don Shelton did NOT make it into the 32 finalists, and Bob Baldwin did. I spoke to both. Shelton was especially dismayed and Baldwin was philosophical.

As to your six additional candidates, I had Paul Miller to add as well as Ed Givens. However, Corbett, Walter, Bogan and Mayo were unknown to me.

These 4 added to the 28 I had completes the list. Can you share how you found these additional candidates?

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 10-27-2009 07:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Tom, too for your all your hard work over the years.

I'm still absorbing this historic windfall, which left me flabbergasted and delighted both, and feel I can't tell a very good story about it quite yet.

My source worked at the Aero-Medical Lab under Dr. George Ruff and whoever else was in charge at Wright-Patterson. It was his job to meet all the midnight flights (each with five or six guys) coming in from Albuquerque, got everyone settled in their quarters.

He shared this story with me:

I first met [Carpenter] in the wee hours... say 0100... on Sunday morning, 22 MAR 59, at the James Cox Municipal Airport at Dayton, OH. He was accompanied by five other guys, namely Tom Bogan, Dick Corbett, Frank Frazier, John Glenn, and Bob Solliday. They had just arrived on a red-eye flight from Albuquerque, NM, after a week of 'probing' at the Lovelace Clinic. I drove them to the BOQ B221 at Wright-Pat and bedded them down for the night. Then we met Sunday afternoon for a few hours before the 'torture' was to begin at 0800 Monday morning.
He knew the Lovelace people quite well too. He volunteered as guinea pig for many of the tests taken by all the candidates and has a very vivid memory of his experience in the anechoic (isolation) chamber.

I'm thinking it's time he sat down with the JSC oral history project to tell his historic tale.

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 606
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-28-2009 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kris, being coy about who your source is? That's not very nice!

I'm going to send you an e-mail to discuss your last point.

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 976
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 10-29-2009 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You mean he hasn't sat down with the oral history people yet? I would like to be in the audience for that (if there is an audience).

My father was in the Pentagon during 1958-59 era (he was working for a private firm on submarines).

The way he remembers it, the Space Task Group was going around knocking on doors trying to sell there "Man in a Can" concept.

They needed the Air Force behind them because they needed the Atlas missile and they needed the Navy behind them because the Navy was going to fish him out of the drink.

He remembers hearing, "Will you go along with this, if we let one of your guys go?" He went on, "We will make this fair - three Navy guys - three Air Force guys".

So my take on all of this is that service affiliations were very important.

He heard later on that one fellow piped up, "You mean your not going to pick any Marines?" "The Marine Corps has jets, they have jet pilots, I know I'm one of them."

Bear in mind all of this happened in Nov.-Dec. 1958, as best he can remember.

When I pointed to a picture of Glenn, and asked "Was that the Marine? His answer was Yeh, I'm Pretty sure".

taneal1
Member

Posts: 196
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 10-30-2009 11:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by parg1:
It would be useful to know why the change occurred and also the names of the missing candidates from the 69 initially interviewed.
Does anyone know if Don Sorlie, Hank Gordon, Fitz Fulton, Don Lopez, or Forrest Petersen were called to Washington for Phase 2 of the selection process? They were all TPS grads, less than 40 years old, and on active duty at the time of the Phase 1 screening. process.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 11-18-2009 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update: I've scheduled a sit-down interview with this wonderful new source on the 1959 selection process. Do cSers have questions they'd like me to ask.

We are confined to questions of process (and the nature of the tests themselves, like the anechoic chamber), not identity, of course. But please post here (or email me) if you have a good question, or several, you'd like me to pose. Thanks.


This topic is 2 pages long:   1  2 

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement