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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

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Don't take this as the final word but I've got this nagging itch tells me "the issue" probably hadn't such a large part to do with race but rather, Captain Dwight's choice of military service.

At that time the greater number of astronaut candidates were being picked out of the US Navy.

Part of the reason for going with Navy pilots was that it was considered pilots had to be nuts to hope for a seat atop what was, essentially, a tall bomb. Navy pilots had already proved their "totally bonkers" bona fides by already having a record of flying off of and landing back on aircraft carriers in aircraft such as the Banshee and the Panther.

As it happens my Dad was friends with the guy who served as Flight Surgeon for the Mercury Program. And both Dad and Jack Langevin (that was the fellow's name) had had some bit of acquaintance with Mr. One Small Step Armstrong having served aboard carriers pioneering 'riding bombs' during the early 50s.

Had he survived this guy would almost certainly have made the list:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_L._Brown

Hollywood. Sensible? Sensitive?

I think you need to check your medication as you are showing alarming signs of becoming delusional.

Hollywood was in that vein with 'Hidden Figures' " ... about black female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidden_Figures

IIRC Dwight was ranked #14 of the astronaut trainees and only the top 10 went onto further training. The then US administration put pressure on NASA to pass him for further training, so they agreed to put all of the top 14 forward. The story's in Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, which you really should read - classic tales of adventure.

Bob - Hidden Figures is a travesty of history. 400,000 people worked on the Apollo project. If John Glenn was so dependent on that mathematical lady, why didn't he mention her in any of his books or interviews?

Dwight had too many too heavy loads to struggle with that had nothing to do with bigotry, since the White House required him to take three day weekends DURING the 'aerospace research pilot' training in 1963 for national speaking engagements promoting Democrats, while the other pilots spent full time on classes, books, and flying. In September 1963 the two top rated students in the class [Ted Freeman and Dave Scott] were among the 14 new pilots NASA selected for real astronaut training, but Dwight's expected White House backing failed to persuade NASA to pick him as well on public relations grounds [he admits he did not rate high enough on technical merit but blames this on the impact of his absences from school for White-House-demanded publicity campaigns -- a plausible explanation]. Kennedy's death the following month obviously had nothing to do with the already-made NASA choices. Dwight's most significant positive impact [for which full honor and gratitude is due] was to create the national publicity that propelled even more fully qualified black pilots and scientists into subsequent spaceflight careers.

Thanks, Jim, that was very informative. The fact that he went on to make a great future in sculpture - one of the trickiest of all the arts - speaks volumes for his character.

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