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
  Publications & Multimedia
  Response To The Review of "The Mercury 13"

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

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Response To The Review of "The Mercury 13"
collectSPACE Admin
Administrator

Posts: 463
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-24-2003 03:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for collectSPACE Admin   Click Here to Email collectSPACE Admin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Posted on behalf of Bernice T. Steadman, one of the Mercury 13 and author of "Tethered Mercury".

For the original review cited by Mrs. Steadman, see:
http://www.collectspace.com/resources/books_mercury13.html

Dear Ms. Stoever:

I have had the great misfortune to read your recent review of Martha Ackmann’s book, “The Mercury 13.” It should have been obvious to you that your support for your father’s public opposition to the inclusion of women in the Mercury program renders you unable to write an appropriate review of this book. It would be impossible to write a “fair” and “unbiased” review under these circumstances, and it shows.

Dr. Ackmann researched those early Mercury days for more than three years and her book deserves more than being described as “viewing the world through her girl-power prism.” She concludes it was exclusion and you express the opinion that the exclusion of women was just fine. It appears you trash her book and the women who volunteered through your father’s eyes. If these are your own opinions, there is little to support them.

The “Woman in Space” program was not some idiot’s dream. Dr. Lovelace was the head of NASA’s medical team and had the responsibility for establishing and administering the medical testing for the Mercury program. If you pick up “Tethered Mercury,” my memoirs, you will find that Dr. Lovelace made it plain to us that he believed a “Woman in Space Program” was going forward. Certainly the next phase was scheduled at the U. S. Navy facilities in Pensacola and it hardly seemed likely that Navy facilities would be involved in a civilian, private scheme. The cancellation of that testing and jet training stopped us cold.

You make much of Jerri Sloan’s problem with her husband and contrast it with Al Shepard’s “serene helpmate.” Such a comparison is not only uncalled for as a part of a review of the book, it is clearly designed to denigrate the women and their families. Calling the motel that Dr. Lovelace provided to the 25 women who were tested, “a fleabag” without indicating that it was the same motel the mercury men stayed in while being tested, makes fun of Jerri and every other women who volunteered for the proposed program. Where did you find the incredible hutzpuh to compare the home life of the Mercury 7 men with one, alleged drunken husband of one of the women. By the way, that husband was a highly decorated pilot from the war able to compare his medals with any of the Seven. Jerri Truhill’s anger at your unneeded inclusion of such personal remarks about her and her husband, is appropriate. Your apology should be forwarded to her at once.

The “largely true” propaganda reported dutifully in Life Magazine was part of Life’s deal with your father and the others. Why didn’t you follow up your slam at the women with what Life paid the Mercury 7, and how the introduction of women into the program would have affected the value of that deal?

Calling Jerrie Cobb an “anywhere-but-here misfit” in light of her impressive flight credentials before the testing, is nothing short of arrogant ignorance. Suggesting stunning naivete for those who believed Dr. Lovelace and circumspection for those you believe did not, fails to acknowledge the pledge of secrecy they all took and the promises made by Dr. Lovelace.

Your statement that it was important the women were not given I.Q. tests or engineering tests before physical testing took place is absurd. No one could look at the actual accomplishments of these women and not understand their mental capacities. So far as testing their engineering capabilities, perhaps you can tell me what that had to do with sitting in a capsule whose previous pilots had been chimpanzees and which was completely controlled from the ground. NASA had no difficulty in giving Glenn a waiver for his lack of engineering credentials. The only ones not given waivers were the women.

Read Glenn’s testimony where he stated that he would welcome us with open arms if we could demonstrate we were better than the men. Think on that a while. Your failure to understand the totality of the gender discrimination involved is exquisitely stated when you indicate “the 13 advanced to nothing more than a stone wall and sobering life lessons.” How convenient and how arrogant to assume there was never a chance that NASA would consider putting a woman in space an opportunity to beat the Russians for the first time. The fires of competition with the Russians burned as brightly in us as in your “engineers and technicians on a holy Cold War mission – to beat the Soviets into space”. The Russians had a propaganda bonanza when they put a woman parachutist in orbit. How condescending indeed to assume that any woman with simple intelligence would have known from the beginning that the men would not let them compete. Your assumption that these women learned a “sobering life lesson” presumes none of us had ever come up against gender discrimination before. I suggest you should read a little history before you assume our need for additional lessons.

When you denigrate our backgrounds, you demonstrate your ignorance again. I had more than 5000 hours when I was tested (I stopped counting hours at 15,000) and could have competed equally with any of the Mercury 7 in any aircraft I was allowed to fly. My qualification as Air Line Transport Rated was the highest given by the FAA and one of the first awarded a woman. Some of the women had even more hours in command. Not one of those thousands of hours was paid for by the USA since women could not fly in the military in those days. I wonder if you know why. It seems to me you think the all male composition of the Space Program and the Military was just fine. Most women have figured it out by now. You surprise me.

How wonderful for them that the Mercury 7 were given their degrees and flying hours in jets by our country. Granted, they flew in combat and did very well. Do you think we would have done less well if given the chance to fight for our country? The facts are that all we wanted was a chance to compete, not guarantees that we would fly in space. As shameful as the discrimination was in 1961, consider the depth of the shame you should be feeling over the testimony of your father and John Glenn before Congress that contributed to the United States failing to allow a woman to fly in space as pilot until Col. Eileen Collins, (the only one so far) flew in the late nineties. The more than thirty years it took your beloved NASA to allow a woman pilot to fly in space is a shameful blot on NASA that reflects badly on our country.

Your review of this book does nothing to dispel that shame. Shame on you.

Sincerely,

Bernice T. Steadman
One of the Mercury 13

John K. Rochester
Member

Posts: 1273
From: Rochester, NY, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 06-25-2003 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
..speaking of getting facts straight, Eillen Collins is not "the only one so far " to pilot the shuttle as a female, Pamela Melroy has been pilot on 2 missions thus far as well.

WAWalsh
Member

Posts: 791
From: Cortlandt Manor, NY
Registered: May 2000

posted 06-25-2003 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
as well as Susan Still Kilrain

jrkeller
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 06-25-2003 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While not officially shuttle pilots, Marsha Ivins and Nancy Curie have thousands of hours in several types of aircraft.

My gut feeling is that Pam Melroy will be the next new female shuttle commander.

jrkeller
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 06-25-2003 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ms. Steadman,

As an engineer and an employee of a NASA contractor, I would have to disagree with you about the importance of a technical or engineering degree. Many engineers are practically incapable of carrying on a conversation with anyone other than another engineer. It helps if you "talk the talk." More importantly, while hardly ever discussed in any detail are astronaut duties outside of flying and mission training. Most astronauts spends countless and thankless hours attending design meetings, evaluating test data, visiting contractors to ensure that parts are being made correctly and on and on. In other words, performing the duties that all of us engineers do.

Do I think the Mercury 13 could have been technically trained or gotten an engineering degree? Yes

jm6662
Member

Posts: 169
From: Kent, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 06-25-2003 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jm6662   Click Here to Email jm6662     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whilst I dont profess to be an expert on the subject of the testing and possible selection of the Mercury 13 girls, the supposed book review was a bit patronising to say the least.
Why should'nt the girls have been selected or put up against the men selected. I know it was different times with different attitudes then today but it still would have given the US space programme even more KUDOS. Even when the Russians beat the US again in putting the first woman into space they did'nt take the hint. I appreciate that in some quarters Tereshkova was not fully recognised for her efforts, but the point was made and the US could have made a better job of it, they had already a suitably trained, physically tested group of women who, on the face of it, were perfect for the job. Another point is why did it take the US so long to put a woman into space? Here in the UK our first astronaut was a Woman, Helen Sharman. If I'm talking out of my rear end I'm sure you'll let me know. I,m all for Miss Steadman, as we say over here in the UK, "Go on girl..."

Best to all

John

John K. Rochester
Member

Posts: 1273
From: Rochester, NY, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 06-25-2003 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pam will be in command of her next mission..straight from the "horses" mouth, so to speak

albatron@aol.com
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 06-25-2003 11:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John:

You are correct, as far as pilots go, Eileen Collins was the first, followed by Susan Still (Kilrain) and Pam Melroy - and I wholeheartedly agree Melroy will be the next female MC and will do as fine a job as Eileen did. Who, by the way, proved her mettle with the way she rescued the launch of STS 93 which very nearly became the flight to prove/disprove the RTLS abort theory. However, I think the point she is attempting to make is to the time frame from when our first astronaut flew until the first female flew as a pilot and/or Commander. 1961 - 1995. Yes Valentina Tereshkova flew earlier, as did Svetlana, and Sally Ride was the first AMERICAN in space (sometimes the "American" connotation gets lost)and this wasn't until 1983 - 22 years after Alan Shepard. So speaking ONLY of the US program, lets give a short timeline: 1961 - 1983 (1st American Mission Specialist) - 1995 (1st Pilot) and then 1999 (1st Commander). 22 years, 12 years then 4 years, and a total of 38 years from Shepard to Eileens first flight as MC.

In regards to the point about an Engineering Degree, a point very well made. However, let's keep in mind John Glenn did not have an Engineering background nor degree in it, and Carpenter did not have an Engineering degree either.

But I believe we should get back to the point of the rebuttal - and that is the validity of the book review as far as being about the book and its merits/demerits. Not the idea as to whether or not they should have or should NOT have flown - an editorial per se. I'll be glad to start another thread on the virtues of this if anyone desires. Had the book review concerned itself with the book being offered, as compared to other recent books ("Tethered Mercury" by Bea Steadman and "Promised the Moon" by Stephanie Nolen)instead of arguing about the validity of the program, all of this may have been unneccesary.

Cheers,

Al http://www.mercury13.com
(Disclaimer - and ILL be totally up front about my connection to this - I author the Mercury 13 website and Jerri Truhill is my "adopted" Mom.)

jrkeller
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 06-26-2003 12:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read Kristen Stoever's review did not find it nearly as bad or patronising as Ms. Steadman's or jm6662's responses indicate. What I did notice was that a least half of the review was lifted from the book. While I have not yet completed the book, I have yet to notice what she states as "white man censuring." When I finish the book in the next day or two, I'll see how much more or less I agree with her review.

With regards to John Glenn and Scott Carpenter's degrees. Both of these men admit to not having a degree at the time of their selection, however, both men were close to completing a degree. According to Glenn, he had all the credits, but the University didn't grant him the degree, because he had been away from the university for so long after he went to fight in WWII. They did of course grant him a degree in 1962. According to Scott Carpenter's book, the Navy considered him a degreed officer even though he didn't complete all the courses required for the program. Maybe these lack of degrees, especially when you look at the educational background of Astronaut groups 2 and 3, was in part a factor for both of them getting only one three orbit flight.

I don't think that Glenn's second flight should be considered as part of this discussion, since he was selected under a completely different set of circumstances.

albatron@aol.com
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 06-26-2003 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are correct - in that they did have a technical background. However that was not the reason they did not get second flights. Glenn's was because he became a "national treasure" and JFK didnt want to risk allowing him to go and losing him.

Carpenter, rightly or wrongly, was perceived by Chris Kraft as "screwing the pooch" on his flight - and the statement was made he'd never get another flight. Kraft was instrumental in some others with this as well and some other problems that occured during the program.

In re: Glenn's second flight - you are correct, that was simply a "cash in" of political favors but not something I ever had any heartburn over, as he should've gotten flights earlier. Too bad some others didn't get that same consideration though.

Al

John K. Rochester
Member

Posts: 1273
From: Rochester, NY, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 06-26-2003 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al.. I hope you didn't take what I wrote to mean that I believe that Ms Stover was correct, or that the Mercury 13 should not have had the chance.. I believe that the comments by Ms Stover were condecending and inappropriate to the writer.. and as far as the Mercury 13, this is America..where a person SHOULD have been judged by merit..not by sex or race or anything else that shouldn't come into play. I was trying to indicate that her comment that to this date Eileen Collins was the only female pilot was inaccurate. I have the greatest respect for you and all you do on this site, and I wanted to let you know my intention..

albatron@aol.com
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 06-27-2003 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello John,

Please - not at all! I appreciate your concerns and was simply just adding to the "fray". <G> I think everyone has made some valid points in this and it's been nice to see a civil discussion.

No you are a class guy as are many here. I appreciate very much the kind words you wrote.

Cheers,

Al-2

jrkeller
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 07-01-2003 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I finished the Mercury 13 book, this past weekend and here are my comments.

First of all, I found the book very well written and well researched with plenty of footnotes and references. As I said earlier, I didn't see any real white man bashing which Kristen Stoever alludes to. For the most part, the author just presents the facts and lets the reader make up their mind. I can easily point to at least five different factors which ended this project.

I would say that I only have one small criticism of the book. In several chapters, the author brings up the statement that NASA had no "requirement" to fly women. It's too bad that she didn't spend a little more time researching this, because I feel that this term was probably used to end the research projects associated with flying women in space. From NASA's point of view, why spend the time and moeny doing so when its not required to so. I suspect that this factor had a lot to do with the termination of the project. From my personal experience as an employee of a NASA contractor, NASA and its contractors, use this excuse to get out of doing or not doing work.

All in all a very good book, and one I recommend reading.

jrkeller
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 07-01-2003 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's an interview of the author
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/space/1974165

albatron@aol.com
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 07-29-2003 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thought Id share this book review that was in the July 27 issue of the Boston Globe. The review was authored by Sheila Widnall, former Secretary of the Air Force.

................
The following story appeared in The Globe Online:
Headline: Crossed in space
Date: 7/27/2003
Byline:

"Some women, like some men, were born to fly."

"Until recently, the
highest expression of this destiny, piloting high-performance military
aircraft or venturing into space as astronauts, was closed to women.
This book documents the lives of 13 women - the Mercury 13 - who
pursued the rigors of astronaut selection to prove that women had the
physical and mental qualifications to function as astronauts at a time
when the nation was not committed to women in the astronaut corps. But
this is not just a book about the space program. Rather, because the
events are so intense and well documented, it is a metaphor for every
occasion where women were denied an opportunity to pursue their dreams."

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 805
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 07-29-2003 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al,

The Boston Globe is a communist newspaper run by lying liberal commie no gooders. They steal most of their stories from other authors and newspapers.

Don't believe anything they write.

I ought to know I get it everyday.

Larry McGlynn

[This message has been edited by Larry McGlynn (edited July 29, 2003).]

albatron@aol.com
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 07-30-2003 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fortunately this was a guest reviewer then, eh Larry? Also a guest reviewer who is learned in that portion of history.

Here is the link to the entire Editorial:
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/208/living/Crossed_in_space+.shtml

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 805
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 07-30-2003 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ya Al,

Most of what I said was tongue and cheek relating to our People's Republic of Massachusetts.

But the paper does have problems, since three writers have been fired for plagiarizing and just plain fabrication. I just couldn't resist the jab.

Let's support the Mercury 13!

Larry McGlynn

bnjacobs
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 09-21-2005 06:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bnjacobs   Click Here to Email bnjacobs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Acutally, John Glenn does have a bachelor's degree in engineering. Check his official bio at http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/glenn-j.html.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-21-2005 11:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bnjacobs:
Acutally, John Glenn does have a bachelor's degree in engineering.

If you look at the replies in the thread above, you will see:

"With regards to John Glenn and Scott Carpenter's degrees. Both of these men admit to not having a degree at the time of their selection, however, both men were close to completing a degree. According to Glenn, he had all the credits, but the University didn't grant him the degree, because he had been away from the university for so long after he went to fight in WWII. They did of course grant him a degree in 1962."

So yes, Glenn received a degree in engineering - three years AFTER selection as a Mercury astronaut. It's a technicality, but it's true, and reflected in Glenn's memoirs when he says of the Mercury selection process "My lack of a degree was the factor most likely to stymie my ambitions." Glenn also recounts how he was rejected in the Mercury selection process because of this, and only the personal intervention of a friend put him back in the running. The college declined his 1959 request to award him a degree by taking other credits into account at the time. They relented after he flew in space...

FF

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 09-22-2005 02:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
The Boston Globe is a communist newspaper run by lying liberal commie no gooders.
[This message has been edited by Larry McGlynn (edited July 29, 2003).]

Larry,

Are they communists? Or are they liberals? As graduate in political sciences, I would suggest both terms exclude each other mutually, even when used in the US context. There might be liberal communists (as opposed to hardline communists), but communist liberals? That's like talking of "marxist Republicans" ... do you know any?

Oh, sorry, I forgot, this is just about talking bullshit and trying to get away with it ... ;-)

PS: No, Robert, this is not an insult, this is advice for further reading: Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit, Princeton University Press, 2005, ISBN: 0691122946

------------------
Jürgen P Esders
Berlin, Germany http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Astroaddies

[This message has been edited by eurospace (edited September 22, 2005).]

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 805
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 09-22-2005 06:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jurgen,

When did you wake up?

I posted those comments two years ago. Glad to know you are still first with the news. Keep up the good work.

I have changed my mind since then.

I found that I have insulted the Commies by linking them to the Boston Globe. I admit I haven't made up my mind about the Liberals yet.

I eagerly await your response in 2007.

Larry

albatron@aol.com
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 09-22-2005 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well done and said Larry - we've got 2 years to discuss this until a response I suppose. I had to admit I sat here scratching my head when I first read his response, but then it all came to me.

I guess your comment about it being blatantly tongue in cheek must have gone over some heads.

Al

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 09-22-2005 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al & Larry,

I am of course an optimistic person: I was hoping that Larry would have developed in the meantime and might now understand what I mean. Funny to see that Al is still just repeating what other people (in this case Larry) have just said before. Good old Al.

Did you notice that Francis also suddenly responded to this age old thread?

------------------
Jürgen P Esders
Berlin, Germany
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Astroaddies

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-22-2005 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by eurospace:
Al & Larry,
Did you notice that Francis also suddenly responded to this age old thread?

Hey now! I was reponding to a posting on the thread made that day... don't blame ME for all this nonsense!!

albatron@aol.com
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 09-23-2005 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
juergen,

Didnt take you 2 years this time! Glad to see you're FULLY awake now - except for the fact you STLL don't get it was HUMOUR on Larry's part.

Yup - I did repeat, as it BORE repeating and you bored us further by still not getting it and making statements totally - hmmmm well fill in the blank.

Again.

Have an excellent weekend!

KC Stoever
Member

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

posted 09-28-2005 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting to see this thread up and running again after, what, two years?

I thought MERCURY 13 was a wonderful book, BTW, and said so in the review ("beautifully written, lovingly researched . . .").

The 1959 selection process for the Mercury 7 is ill understood--and it remains true that the women went through a mere shadow of the process--outside of NASA jurisdiction.

In fact, most of the women were subjected just to phase 3 (Lovelace) of what in 1959 had been a painstaking five-phase selection process supervised by a magisterial working group and selection committee.

In 1959, you didn't get to Phase 2 without the engineering degree (or a waiver based on credentials/performance granted by the working group). And you didn't advance to Phase 3 (Lovelace) without an IQ of 130 or more.

Psych and IQ testing, unfortunately, meant that Jerry Cobb, the most promising FLAT to go through the cardiovascular testing at Lovelace, would never have made it to Phase 3 (Lovelace)--if one applied the 1959 standards. The standardized testing farmed out to an outfit in Oklahoma found her in the bright-normal range--less than 120.

There are loads of high-IQ women today who can fly jet aircraft and fly them well, and who have superlative technical backgrounds, and are wonderful astronauts and aviators. But such women were not chock-a-block in the mid-20th century. And President Eisenhower had a cold war to fight and qualified astronauts that needed to be identified immediately. He said "I want test pilots." The rest is history.

I was struck though by Francis's comments, regarding one Group 1 criterion, an egineering degree:

So yes, Glenn received a degree in engineering - three years AFTER selection as a Mercury astronaut. It's a technicality, but it's true, and reflected in Glenn's memoirs when he says of the Mercury selection process "My lack of a degree was the factor most likely to stymie my ambitions." Glenn also recounts how he was rejected in the Mercury selection process because of this, and only the personal intervention of a friend put him back in the running.

Are these accounts both in the Glenn memoir, Francis? (You write, "Glenn also recounts . . .") In the Allen Gamble account of the 1959 selection process, which I cite in FOR SPACIOUS SKIES, Gamble describes an all-night session at the Pentagon, going through all the Navy records to find candidates (this was for Phase 1 of the selection process)--only to his horror realizing that they'd reviewed not one Marine Corps file.

A quick phone call produced 24 MC files--he recounts identifying Glenn then, along with three other Marines. He marvelled at the Glenn's credentials, and his evident engineering skills (Glenn was teaching graduate courses in engineering at the University of Maryland). He decided to waive the degree criterion.

On top of this Phase 1 waiver, Glenn (like the other men who had advanced to the Phase 2 testing at the Pentagon) took a host of standardized engineering and IQ tests at the Pentagon. Only those with the highest scores went on to Phase 3--Glenn and Carpenter among them, of course.

Carpenter was a heat-transfer course shy of his BS in engineering (he missed the final the spring of 1948--snowmelt took the bridge out in Lefthand Canyon the day of the final). He took it again at TPS, where it was called Thermodynamics. I have the transcript. He got a 100.

According to his computerized Navy records, in any event, Carpenter was a man with an engineering degree.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-28-2005 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
Are these accounts both in the Glenn memoir, Francis? (You write, "Glenn also recounts . . .").

Yes, both from his memoir, which I went back to when composing my reply just to double-check.

quote:
In the Allen Gamble account of the 1959 selection process, which I cite in FOR SPACIOUS SKIES, Gamble describes an all-night session at the Pentagon, going through all the Navy records to find candidates (this was for Phase 1 of the selection process)--only to his horror realizing that they'd reviewed not one Marine Corps file.

Glenn also makes note of that in the memoir, but made it sound like a separate event (I believe he said it was later, but I don't have my copy to hand here...)

Thanks,

Francis.

KC Stoever
Member

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

posted 09-28-2005 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the fact check, Francis.

The Gamble account dates the event (making the phone call to get the Marine files) to late Jan. 1959.

No outside intervention required or noted.

I wonder if Glenn's coauthor relied on an alternative bit of lore, repeated until "true." And Glenn allowed it in, as he may have heard the lore too and had no way to disprove it.

I will ask him.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-28-2005 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I find time tonight, Kris, I will look it up again, and send you a (hardback) page number for the relevant section off-list. I must admit, I hadn't caught it on my initial read of the book when it came out, and only noticed it during this research.

And, I hope it's evident to everyone, I've only really posted here in relation to Glenn's degree, not on the initial issue of the "Mercury 13"...

Thanks,

Francis.

KC Stoever
Member

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

posted 09-28-2005 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah. I think we both are off topic, Francis--responding to the tangent the thread took re: the engineering degree.

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