Magnet Ass

John Herschel "Magnet Ass" Glenn Jr. was born on, July 18th, 1921, in Cambridge Ohio.  During WW2, Glenn was assigned to Marine Squadron VMJ-353, flying R4D transport planes. He transferred to VMF-155 as an F4U Corsair fighter pilot, and flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific.

During the Korean war, John Glenn was assigned to VMF-311. Flying his F9F Panther on 63 combat missions and gaining the dubious nickname "magnet ass" from his apparent ability to attract enemy flak. Twice he returned to base with over 250 flak holes in his aircraft.

Glenn flew a second Korean combat tour in an interservice exchange program with the United States Air Force, 51st Fighter Wing. He logged 27 missions in the faster F-86F Sabre and shot down three MiG-15s near the Yalu River in the final days before the ceasefire.

For his service in 149 combat missions in two wars, he received numerous honours, including the Distinguished Flying Cross (on six occasions) and the Air Medal with eighteen clusters.

On July 16, 1957, Glenn completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight in a Vought F8U-3P Crusader. The flight from NAS Los Alamitos, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, took 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8.3 seconds. As he passed over his hometown, a child in the neighborhood reportedly ran to the Glenn house shouting "Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb! Johnny dropped a bomb!" as the sonic boom shook the town.

John Herschel Glenn, Jr. went on to be selected as one of the "Mercury Seven" in 1959 by NASA to become America's first astronauts and fly the Project Mercury spacecraft, and on February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth.

In 1965 Glenn retired from the USMC and served in the US Senate for 24 years until January 1999. In 1998, while still a sitting Senator, John "Magnet Ass" Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space as a crew member of the space shuttle Discovery on STS-95 and the only person to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle Program.

Col John "Magnet Ass" Glenn flew West on December 8th, 2016. He was 95 years old.

In reflection of those words uttered by Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter, On Feb. 20, 1962, as Glenn rocketed away in his Friendship 7 spacecraft...

"Godspeed, John Glenn."


Col John Herschel Glenn Jr. USMC
Congressional Gold Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
6 - Distinguished Flying Cross
18 - Air Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Navy Unit Commendation
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
China Service Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Korea Medal
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

1 comment

  • Robert Pangborn

    Easy to see why he was considered to have the ‘Right Stuff’.

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