Astronaut. Grissom was a native of Mitchell, Indiana and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with cluster for his Korean service, two NASA Distinguished Service medals and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the Air Force Command Astronaut Wings. He received his wings in March 1951. He flew 100 combat missions in Korea in F-86s with the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and, upon returning to the United States in 1952, became a jet instructor at Bryan, Texas. In August 1955, he entered the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to study Aeronautical Engineering. He attended the Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in October 1956 and returned to Wright-Patterson in May 1957 as a test pilot assigned to the fighter branch. Grissom was one of the seven Mercury astronauts selected by NASA in April 1959. On July 21, 1961, he piloted the "Liberty Bell 7" spacecraft on the second and final suborbital Mercury test flight. This flight lasted 15 minutes and 37seconds, attained an altitude of 118 statute miles, and traveled 302 miles downrange from the launch pad at Cape Kennedy. On March 23, 1965, he served as command pilot on the first manned Gemini flight, a 3-orbit mission during which the crew accomplished the first orbital trajectory modifications and the first lifting reentry of a manned spacecraft. Subsequent to this assignment, he served as backup command pilot for Gemini 6. Grissom was named to serve as command pilot for what is now classified as the AS-204 mission, the first 3-man Apollo flight. Tragically, he, and fellow crew members Edward White and Roger Chaffee lost their lives in the Apollo spacecraft flash fire during a launch pad test. On October 1, 1978, then United States President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded him the Congressional Space Medal of Honor; he was one of the first six astronauts to received this award.
United States Air Force
World War II Korea
DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) AM (Air Medal with clusters) + OLC
Betty Lavonne Moore Grissom