Success and Politics: What Astronaut John Glenn’s Life Reveals

America’s national hero, astronaut John Glenn, was born in 1921, in New Concord, Ohio. From the age of eight, when he had the opportunity to fly in a plane with his father, Glenn had dreamed of becoming a pilot. However, the cost of flight training seemed prohibitive, so he had abandoned the idea. But early in 1941, when he was 20, he saw a notice that the U.S. Department of Commerce was offering free training for pilots. The era that would shape the rest of Glenn’s life had started.

When Glenn told his parents that he was entering flight training, they strenuously objected. World War II was escalating in Europe, and the application he signed for the free training said that if necessary, he would be trained for military purposes too. So, his enrollment to the army didn’t take too much time. He entered flight school only a General hashtag linkage to COVID-19 Pandemic few days before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor -in December 1941. The war in the Pacific had started. Glenn then signed up for the Army Air Corps, saying goodbye to his parents, and to his girlfriend Annie Castor (later his wife).

In the next two years, he was first trained as a military pilot, then, he was sent to Midway and Marshall Islands in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese there. After the end of the war in 1945, Glenn went with the marines to China, and in 1953, he was ordered to the Korean War. Between 1954 and 1956, he was assigned an extremely risky job -back in the United States- as a test pilot.

Early in 1957, the great moment arrived: Glenn fantasized about crossing the United States in a plane at supersonic speed for the first time. At first, the navy and Pentagon couldn’t be persuaded. In July 1957, however -the navy and the Pentagon having suddenly come around in the meantime- Glenn realized his dream: he crossed the country by plane, from California to New York, at supersonic speed, in 3 hours and 23 minutes. When he landed, he was greeted by reporters and television crews, while a military band marked the event. The next day, The New York Times run a profile of him and his wife Annie. A brilliant season had begun for Glenn.

The next year, Glenn took another step forward: he decided he would become an astronaut, in order to go into space. Early in 1959, he volunteered for that purpose. He passed his exams successfully, and during the following two years (1960-1961), he was trained for the great experience, along with six other elite astronauts, waiting for the final go. In February 1962, the big event happened: Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. After a spectacular trip of three orbits that lasted 4 hours and 56 minutes, he returned to earth when his capsule landed in the cold waters of the Atlantic.

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