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 Donn F. Eisele

Donn F. Eisele

Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, USA
Death 1 Dec 1987 (aged 57)
Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 3, Lot 2503-G-1, Grid Q-15
Memorial ID 2718 · View Source
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American Astronaut. He was one of three astronauts who in 1968 successfully flew the first manned flight of the Apollo spacecraft. Born Donn Fulton Eisele in Columbus, Ohio, he graduated from West High School in Columbus, Ohio, and was an Eagle Scout in the local Boy Scout Troop. Attending the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, he graduated in 1952 and chose to receive his commission in the US Air Force. He attended and graduated from the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and became a project engineer and experimental test pilot at the Air Force's Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There he flew experimental test flights in support of special weapons development. He would receive a Masters of Science degree in Astronautics in 1960, from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and as a pilot he would eventually log over 4200 hours of flying time, including 260 hours in space. He was among the third group of astronauts that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected in October 1965. He spent the next three years training for space flight, and on October 11, 1968, he was command module pilot for an eleven day flight of Apollo VII, the first manned flight test of the Apollo spacecraft, which was a third generation of American space craft after the successful Mercury and Gemini programs. His teammates were spacecraft commander Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and lunar module pilot Walter Cunningham. Their flight included executing maneuvers in transposition and docking, to determine if the Apollo could perform the necessary maneuvers. Following return of the successful flight of Apollo VII, Eisele was made backup command module pilot for the 1969 Apollo X flight. In 1970, Eisele resigned from the Astronaut corps to become a technical assistant for manned space flight at the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, a position he held until he retired as a Colonel from the US Air Force in 1972. In July 1972, Eisele became Country Director for the US Peace Corps in Thailand. Upon returning from Thailand, he became Sales Manager of the Marion Power Shovel Company, a division of Dresser Industries. Eisele died of a heart attack in 1987 at age 57, while on a business trip to Tokyo, Japan, where he was to attend the opening of a new Space Camp patterned after the one in Huntsville, Alabama. He was survived by his wife, Susan, and two children. He also had four children from a previous marriage. Eisele was cremated and his ashes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2008, NASA awarded him a posthumous NASA Distinguished Service Medal for his service to NASA. Among his many honors are the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Air Force Senior Pilot Astronaut Winds and the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2718
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Donn F. Eisele (23 Jun 1930–1 Dec 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2718, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .