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  Mercury candidate Maj. Robert G. Bell (USAF)

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Author Topic:   Mercury candidate Maj. Robert G. Bell (USAF)
wbell55
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Kirbyville, TX USA
Registered: Jul 2015

posted 07-21-2015 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wbell55   Click Here to Email wbell55     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would like to find out any information that may be available on Robert G. (Bob) Bell, who was among the 32, then 25, then (Based on what my mother was told) the 12 considered to be the 99.9%ers (but I would like to get confirmation on this).

He was my father, who later flew slot position for the USAF Thunderbirds, flew Johnny Carson at an actual airshow, then later appeared individually (along with "Hoot" Gibson) as Johnny's guest on the Tonight Show.

He had quite a resume after graduating from the USNA, and has always been my hero, and the ultimate example of determination and excellence.

He was among the younger candidates in the Mercury Program, was at least 5'11, and did not have quite as many flying hours that the final 7 had, but he was an incredible pilot, a perfectionist and certainly one of the most competitive people alive. He stated on more than one occasion to my mother that his ultimate goal was to one day become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff!

Thank you, — Wes Bell, son of Maj. Bob Bell, USAF

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1466
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 07-21-2015 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember getting Bob Bell's autograph after he and the Thunderbirds gave a show at McConnell AFB in the early '60's! I was about 5 or 6 years old at the time, but treasured that autograph. I believe I still have it. Will have to look...

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 1252
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 07-21-2015 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to cS! You found the best place to contribute and interact with other like-minded space enthusiasts.

Regarding your late father; can I assume you searched the internet and any available books on the subject? If not, the book "Selecting the Mercury Seven: The Search for America's First Astronauts" by Colin Burgess (Springer Praxis, 2011) is recommended.

I also see a mention of your father (and a photo) on the website of a fellow Mercury candidate. He also is mentioned in the Edwards TPS section of his site, with a class photo that includes your father. Hopes this helps.

I can't help but admire the flying career of your father, with his time spent with the Thunderbirds (if he had been chosen as an astronaut, he would have been in select company, as one of only three from the team to make it into space), and training and deploying on the F-8 aboard a Navy carrier. Impressive!

ColinBurgess
Member

Posts: 1957
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 07-21-2015 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wes, I am the author of "Selecting the Mercury Seven: The Search for America's First Astronauts," in which I featured the stories of all 32 finalists including your father. Several people who knew your father contributed to his story, with family information coming from your mother, Jackie. I think you would enjoy the book and finding out a lot more about the selection process and your father's part in it. He was taken from us all too soon in that tragic accident.

wbell55
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Kirbyville, TX USA
Registered: Jul 2015

posted 07-19-2018 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wbell55   Click Here to Email wbell55     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Mr. Burgess! I purchased your book and love it! Very thorough, well-researched and well-written. I admire your scholarship, contributions and tribute to all these fine men.

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