John Herschel Glenn Jr. was born on July 18, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio but was raised in New Concord. Glenn studied Engineering at Muskingum College, but surprisingly never finished his senior year. The college ultimately gave Glenn his Bachelor of Science degree in 1962 after his impressive work on the Mercury Space flight. His reason for dropping out of school so abruptly was the United States involvement in World War Two directly following the attack at Pearl Harbor, he quit school to enlist in the army.
In March of 1942 Glenn became enlisted in the United States Navy aviation cadet. He was eventually given the opportunity to transfer to the U.S. Marine Corps and transferred there. Throughout his piloting career he flew patrol missions in North China, did a combat tour during the Korean War, and worked as a U.S. Naval Test Pilot. He would fly planes extremely high and test their machine guns and cannons. He was also the first person to complete a supersonic transcontinental flight on July 16, 1957.
The National Aerunautics and Space Administration, aka NASA, was a program developed in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower. It was designed to encourage and explore space science. NASA began recruiting military test pilots between the ages of 25 and 40 with a scientific degree. Although Glenn did not have a science degree he was able to land the job. Out of 508 pilots, only seven were chosen to be astronauts. These men were known as the “Mercury Seven.” Glenn is most well known for being the first American to orbit the Earth, and the fifth person in space. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978 and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990. He orbited the Earth on February 20, 1962 on the Friendship 7 for the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. This flight in particular lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds. They orbited the Earth three times during the flight.
Glenn garnered so much fame and attention for being the first American to orbit the Earth that he was considered a national hero. He even met President Kennedy at the time, they became personal friends. Glenn eventually retired from NASA on January 16, 1964. The very next day he announced that he was running for U.S. Senate in Ohio. After a freak accident he was forced to remove himself from the race. However, Glenn eventually ran again and successfully became a senator. He was a great Senator and a great man, a true American Hero.