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In Memoriam: John Herschel Glenn Jr.

It is with a deep sense of sadness that I share with you the news that our distinguished Honorary Chairman and most valued fellow explorer, John Glenn, has passed away at the age of 95.

Senator Glenn was elected to membership in The Explorers Club in 1962, and in 2013, he was awarded the coveted Legendary Explorers Medal for his extraordinary contributions to manned space flight.

His distinguished career as an astronaut, United States Senator and educator, and his most valued membership and companionship in The Explorers Club, elevated him to a level that few others have ever achieved.

He was the first American to orbit the Earth aboard the Mercury Friendship 7 spacecraft in 1962, following a military career as a pilot in both World War II and Korea, during which he flew 149 combat missions, and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross six times.

He later rejoined the space program and in 1998 and at the age of 77, he served as the Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery on a nine-day mission.

He served in the United States Senate from 1974 to 1999, and in 1984 was a candidate for President of the United States. And in 2012, Senator Glenn was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to a civilian, by President Barack Obama.

We were deeply honored to have had John Glenn among us as one of our most distinguished explorers. Our most profound and deepest sympathies go out to his wife of 68 years, Annie and to his two children.

Ad Astra, Godspeed John Glenn

Ted Janulis
The Explorers Club

“I think The Explorers Club performs a function for this country that is very, very valuable. Exploring is another way of saying ‘curiosity in action,’ and if you think about it, there haven’t been any advances made in civilization without someone being curious about what’s out there — what’s around the next bend in the road, or over the next hill, or beyond that forest over there… and so on.

This kind of curiosity is far more than just wanting to go and look at some new scenery someplace — it’s an attitude…

Back in the days of the old maps, that showed the known world — off on the edges, it showed boiling pots of oil, and dragons, and so on.

Our whole history has been one of dragon pushing. Pushing dragons back off the edge and filling in those gaps on the maps. And that is a key role that The Explorers Club has provided, and that attitude, of curiosity, is one that has been long sponsored by this Club.”

— John Glenn, March 16th, 2013
Upon receiving the Legendary Explorers Medal

Glenn describes his time as a Mercury 7 astronaut to Club Members at our 109th Annual Dinner

Explorers Club Honorary President Don Walsh (first to the deepest point in the ocean), Honorary Chair Glenn (first American to orbit Earth), and Jim Whittaker (first American to summit Everest)

Glenn in his silver Mercury pressure suit, readying for the launch of Mercury Atlas 6. January 1962

Glenn and Scott Carpenter (at the time, the last two living Mercurcy 7 astronauts) embrace after being co-awarded The Legendary Explorer Medal at ECAD 2013

Published by : Explorers Club Staff

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste