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James Alton McDivitt

Gemini and Apollo astronaut

James McDivitt

Biographical Data

Born June 10, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois

Married Patricia
Children Michael A., Ann L., Patrick W., Kathleen M.

Married Judy
Children 2 step-children


Kalamazoo (Michigan) Central High School

Jackson (Michigan) Junior College

Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering University of Michigan, 1959
Honorary Doctor of Science Seton Hall University, 1969
Honorary Doctor of Science Miami University, 1970
Honorary Doctor of Laws Eastern Michigan University, 1975

Military Career

Joined the Air Force in 1951.

Received his pilot wings and commission as Second Lieutenant in May 1952 at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona.

Completed combat crew training in November 1952.

Flew 145 combat missions during the Korean War in F-80s and F-86s with the 35th Bombardment Squadron.

Returned to the United States in September 1953 and served as pilot and assistant operations officer with the 19th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dow Air Force Base, Maine.

Entered advanced flying school at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, in Novenber 1954.

In July 1955 he went to McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, where he served as pilot, operations officer, and later as flight commander with the 332d Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

He went to Edwards Air Force Base, California, as a student test pilot in June 1959. He remained there with the Air Force Flight Test Center as an experimental flight test pilot, completed the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School, and joined the Manned Spacecraft Operations Branch in July 1962.

Retired with the rank of Brigadier General.

NASA Career

Selected as an astronaut in September 1962.

He was command pilot for Gemini IV, a 66-orbit 4-day mission that began on June 3, and ended June 7, 1965. Highlights of the mission included opening of the spacecraft cabin doors, an extravehicular activity period performed by pilot Ed White, and the completion of 12 scientific and medical experiments.

He was commander of Apollo IX, a 10-day earth orbital flight launched on March 3, 1969. This was the first flight of the complete set of Apollo hardware. Highlights of the mission included the first flight of the lunar module, the first rendezvous between the LM and the command and service module, the first joint operation of two manned spacecraft in flight, and an extravehicular activity period.

He became Manager of Lunar Landing Operations in May 1969, and led a team that planned the lunar exploration program and redesigned the spacecraft to accomplish this task. In August 1969, he became Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program and was the program manger for Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

Retired from the Air Force and NASA in June 1972.

Post-NASA Career

Executive Vice-President, Corporate Affairs for Consumers Power Company, 1972-1975
Executive Vice-President and Director of Pullman, Inc., March 1975
President of the Pullman Standard Division, The Railcar Division, October 1975-1981
Senior Vice President, Government Operations, Rockwell International, January 1981-


member, Society of Experimental Test Pilots
member, A
merican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
member, Tau Beta Pi
member, Phi Kappa Phi

Awards and Honors

two NASA Distinguished Service Medals
NASA Exceptional Service Medal
two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals
four Distinguished Flying Crosses
five Air Medals
Chong Moo Medal from South Korea
USAF Air Force Systems Command Aerospace Primus Award
Arnold Air Society JFK Trophy; the Sword of Loyola
Michigan Wolverine Frontiersman Award

Astronaut Biographies

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This page was last updated on 06/09/2018.