Many great folks have come from Oklahoma. On this day in 2004 Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, one of the original Mercury astronauts who pioneered human space exploration, died. He was 77. One of the original seven Mercury astronauts, Cooper piloted the final flight of the Mercury program, the United States’ first manned spaceflight program.
An Oklahoman, Cooper was born March 6, 1927, in Shawnee. Cooper was a World War II veteran. He joined the Marines and transferred to the Air Force in 1949. He earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1956 and served as a test pilot in the Flight Test Division at Edwards Air Force Base. Cooper was selected as a Mercury astronaut in April 1959. On May 15, 1963, Cooper piloted the “Faith 7” spacecraft on a 22-orbit mission that lasted 34 hours and 20 minutes.
In 1965 he served as command pilot of the Gemini 5 mission. He and Charles Conrad established a new space endurance record by traveling more than 3.3 million miles in an elapsed time of 190 hours, 56 minutes, and proved that humans could survive in a weightless state for the length of a trip to the moon. It also tested a new power source for future flights – fuel cells. During a 1995 reunion of surviving Mercury astronauts, Cooper was asked who was the greatest fighter pilot he ever saw, Cooper answered, “You’re looking at him!”
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. Our usual dinner will be the October 5, 2017 and will start at 7:00 PM and there will be a meal at 6:00 PM. We look forward to Chef Sebert’s culinary masterpiece. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in August are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians).
Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the storms bring strong winds and lightning. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.