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Circa 2002

HistoryA BIT OF HISTORY:  History ThumbnailCameraVP-31 History (Nov. 27, 2002) "...First Native American in space a trained naval pilot..." The Flagship http://www.flagshipnews.com/archives_2002/nov272002_10.shtml [09MAY2005]

Cmdr. John Bennett Herrington has become the first American Indian astronaut when he, acting as mission specialist on board the Space Shuttle STS-113 launched into space Nov. 23.

Born Sept. 14, 1958, in Wetumka, Okla., and raised in Colorado Springs, Colo., Riverton, Wyo., and Plano, Texas, he received his commission from aviation officer candidate school in March 1984 and was designated a naval aviator in March 1985.

He reported to VP-31 at the NAS Moffett Field, California, for initial training in the P-3C Orion. His first operational assignment was with VP-48 where he made three operational deployments, two to the Northern Pacific based from NAS Adak, Alaska, and one to the Western Pacific based from the NAS Cubi Point, Philippines.

While assigned to VP-48, Herrington was designated a patrol plane commander, mission commander and patrol plane instructor pilot. Following completion of his first operational tour, Herrington then returned to VP-31 as a fleet replacement squadron instructor pilot. While assigned to VP-31 he was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, in January 1990. After graduation in December 1990, he reported to the force warfare aircraft test directorate as a project test pilot for the joint primary aircraft training system.

Herrington conducted additional flight test assignments flying numerous variants of the P-3 Orion as well as the T-34C and the DeHavilland Dash 7.

Following his selection as an aeronautical engineering duty officer, Herrington reported to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School where he completed a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering in June 1995. Herrington was assigned as a special projects officer to the Bureau of Naval Personnel Sea Duty Component when selected for the astronaut program.

A graduate of Plano Senior High School in 1976, Herrington received a bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1983 and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1995.

He's a life member of the Association of Naval Aviation, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Alumni Association. Sequoyah Fellow, American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Herrington reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Initially, Herrington was assigned to the Flight Support Branch of the Astronaut Office where he served as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team responsible for shuttle launch preparations and post-landing operations. Currently, he is assigned to STS-113.

He was a Distinguished Naval Graduate from Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1984. His personal decorations include the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commen-dation, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and various other service awards.

Herrington has logged more than 3,000 flight hours in more than 30 different types of aircraft.

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