|Birth: ||Dec. 22, 1935|
|Death: ||Sep. 19, 2006|
John "Jack" Lawrence Finley was a United States Navy aviator and was selected as an astronaut.
He joined the US Navy and underwent flight training at the Pensacola Naval base (Florida), which he completed in August 1958. He next served with Air Training Unit 203 at NAS Chase Field, Texas, after which he was transferred as F-8 pilot to the 51st fighter squadron (VF-51) onboard the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga. After four years, he became officer in the staff of the Carrier Air Wing-5, where he was responsible for the safety of landings. In 1964, Finley attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California (Class 64-A). After graduation, he became an instructor at Edwards.
Finley was selected as a USAF astronaut on November 12, 1965 to fly military Gemini missions in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory project. The project was delayed, and he retired as astronaut in April 1968.
He returned to active military duty, which included a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968. He subsequently served with the "Sundowners" of VF-111, VX-4 "Evaluators" as project officer, and assistant Executive Officer, later Commanding Officer, of the "Screaming Eagles" of VF-51. During 1974 and 1975, he served at the Navy Department's Bureau of Personnel in Washington, after which he was appointed as commander of the Attack Carrier Air Wing 5 in San Francisco (1975-1976); supervisor of the Naval School (1976-1977). On April 16, 1977, he accepted command of the ship USS Kawishiwi, a position he held until is retirement in May 1980. In total, he logged over 3000 hours of flying time during his Navy career, and made more than 1000 aircraft carrier landings.
After his retirement from military duty in 1980, he spent 15 years with Federal Express Corp. in Memphis, Tennessee, achieving the level of Vice President, Aircraft Line Operations, six years as Executive Vice President at Intrepid Aviation Partners, and two years as COO/CEO Dee Howard Aircraft Maintenance.
He died on September 19, 2006 in Memphis, Tennessee after an extended battle with diabetes and cancer. He was survived by his two daughters Vickie and Cindy (from his marriage with Florence Herlihy) and his fiancee Patty Kowalczyk.
Created by: William Taber
Record added: Feb 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 34130342