Captain James Lovell

James Lovell was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 25, 1928. In his senior year in high school he was accepted in the Naval Aviation Holloway Plan and after two years at the University of Wisconsin reported for flight training at Pensacola. During preflight training he received an appointment to the Naval Academy and reported in June 1948. Captain Lovell reported again to Pensacola for flight training in September 1952 and was designated naval aviator T-4084 on 1 February 1954. His first assignment was Composite Squadron Three (VC-3) at Moffett Federal Airfield California. In 1955 he was assigned to Team Jig, a night fighter team deployed on the USS Shangri-La.

In January 1958, Lovell entered Class 20 at the Navy Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland and upon graduation was assigned to Electronics Test where he became the Project Manager for the F4H.

In 1961, Lovell was ordered to VF-101 where he trained Navy and Marine F4H squadrons. While there he attended the Naval Aviation Safety School at the University of Southern California and was assigned Program Manager of “Operation Sage Burner” that established the low altitude speed record in the F4H.

In October 1962, James Lovell was selected as one of the second group of astronauts to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). During the next eleven years, he made four space flights and was back-up on three more. On Gemini 7 with Frank Borman they set the world space flight endurance record, participated in the first rendez-vous with Gemini 6 and conducted 21 medical experiments. As Commander of Gemini 12, he and Buzz Aldrin perfected spacecraft docking techniques and developed Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) procedures necessary for the later flights of Apollo.

Captain Lovell was navigator on the historic Apollo 8 mission—man’s first flight to the moon. He was the first Naval Officer to reach the moon and successfully evaluated the navigation system while looking for suitable landing sites for future missions. Lovell’s last flight was Apollo 13—the third lunar landing mission. He was the first person to fly to the moon a second time. Two hundred thousand miles from earth an explosion on the spacecraft forced him to successfully bring home a crippled spacecraft. During this crisis period, he established the absolute altitude record of 148,655 miles.

In 1967 President Johnson appointed Lovell as Consultant to the President on Physical Fitness & Sports. Lovell served under four Presidents as the Council Chairman until retiring in 1978.

After holding several managerial positions with NASA and attending the Advanced Management Program at Harvard, Lovell retired from the Navy and NASA in March 1973. In civilian life he was President of Bay-Houston Towing, Fisk Telephone Systems and Executive Vice President of the Centel Corporation.

During his career Lovell accumulated over 7,000 flight hours, including 4,500 in jet aircraft, 713 in space and 107 carrier landings. He received numerous medals and awards including the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, 2 Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses, NASA Distinguished and Exceptional Service Medals, and the French Legion of Honor.