Alan Shepard

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Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (November 18, 1923 – July 21, 1998) (Rear Admiral, United States Navy, Ret.) was an American naval aviator and astronaut who became the second person, and the first American, in space. Ten years later, he commanded the Apollo 14 mission, and was the fifth person to walk on the Moon.


Naval career

Shepard was born in Derry, New Hampshire, to Lt. Colonel Alan B. Shepard, Sr. and Renza (Emerson) Shepard. He began his naval career after graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1944, and served on the destroyer USS Cogswell while it was deployed in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. He subsequently entered flight training at Corpus Christi, Texas and Pensacola, Florida, and received his naval aviator wings in 1947. He was assigned to Fighter Squadron 42 based at Norfolk, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida, and served several tours aboard aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean with the squadron.

In 1950, he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland. After graduation, he participated in flight test work which included high-altitude tests to obtain data on light at different altitudes and on a variety of air masses over the American continent; test and development experiments of the Navy's in-flight refueling system; carrier suitability trials of the F2H-3 Banshee; and Navy trials of the first angled carrier deck. He was subsequently assigned to Fighter Squadron 193 based at Moffett Field, California, a night fighter unit flying Banshee jets. As operations officer of this squadron, he made two tours to the western Pacific on board the carrier USS Oriskany.

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