Sonny Carter

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Manley Lanier "Sonny" Carter, Jr. (August 15, 1947–April 5, 1991) was an American physician, professional soccer player, Naval officer, and NASA astronaut who flew on STS-33. He was scheduled to fly on STS-42 at the time of his death in the crash of Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311 in Brunswick, Georgia while on a commercial airplane traveling for NASA.[1] Carter was killed in the same plane crash that took the life of former Senator John Tower of Texas.


Early life

Sonny Carter was born in Macon, Georgia, and graduated from Lanier High School in Macon in 1965. He received a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Emory University, in 1969 and a doctor of medicine degree from there in 1973. After completing medical school in 1973, Carter completed internship in internal medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. In 1974, he entered the Navy and completed flight surgeon school. After serving tours as a flight surgeon with the 1st and 3rd Marine Air Wings, he returned to flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator on April 28, 1978 at NAS Chase, Beeville, TX. During the following years, his naval career allowed him to serve as a fighter pilot flying F-4 Phantoms with the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 333 (VMFA 333) and to complete a nine month Mediterranean cruise aboard USS Forrestal. In 1982 he attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, graduating in 1984. Carter logged 3,000 flying hours and 160 carrier landings.

Athletic career

Carter played collegiate soccer and ran track at Emory University. His senior season, he was captain and most valuable player of the soccer team. In addition to his intercollegiate athletic career, Carter was an intramural wrestling champion. In 1989, the school inducted him in its Athletic Hall of Fame.[2] The university holds the Sonny Carter Invitational each year in his honor. In 1970, Carter signed with the Atlanta Chiefs of the North American Soccer League for whom he played three seasons.[3]

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