Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio on February 15, 1987 · 16
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Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio · 16

Dayton, Ohio
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 15, 1987
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15-A he John Glenn through the years . a Ll 1 1941 Enters civilian pilot training program. ' : 1 942 Enters Naval Reserve, i 1943 Commissioned second lieutenant Marine aviator; marries Annie Castor. ; 194445 Flies 59 World War II ;.: combat missions, winning two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 10 Air Medals. I j . , , 3 ' S i L 4 I i ' i i i t i : . i . : ! - - -- j ll'. i l . . ii v::-.; . .-.v , ....... ll'-' 1: I I'W&miMm MMmm j i ; - j i , ' I "4 . . - , - H ' i f"' ' " V'" . ' i Mh ! .. - - h IP j ,ii 1 v . J j !! ' ; ii :.: ' La Feb. 20, 1 962: John Glenn and America's hopes thunder skyward Memories are still vivid of ride behind a fireball By Tom Price i WASHINGTON BUREAU ! WASHINGTON John and Annie plenn's most vivid memories of Feb. 20, 1962, come from the same portion of his orbital flight during re-entry, when there were tears that a loose heat shield could lead to the space capsule's destruction and his death. ) "I got a call from (astronaut) Scott Car-'penter, explaining to me that they believed :that there was trouble, and I just began to Ww that he might not make it back," Annie Glenn recalled during a recent interview. Thinking about it 25 years later "makes the hairs on my arms pop up," she said, j "I just thought: 'That's it. That's it.' ." ! Because of malfunctioning automatic .'controls, John Glenn had to guide the capsule . through re-entry manually, and he "can i still remember exactly how it felt, what my ; sensations were and specifically how the gauges were fluctuating because I was trying --to counter them." , "We left the retro (rocket) pack on" in n-rA, , .;,; 1945 Son David bom, 1947 Daughter Lyn born. ;. 1953 Flies 90 Korean conflict combat missions, downing three MiGs and winning two Distinguished Flying Crosses and eight Air Medals. 1957 As test pilot, sets transcontinental speed record, winning fifth Distinguished Flying Cross; wins ' $12,500 on Name That Tune television show. ASSOCIATED PRESS an attempt to hold the heat shield in place," he remembered. "It burned off," he said. "And, when these big burning chunks were coming back by the window, I couldn't be positive whether it was the retfo pack burning or whether it was the heat shield tearing up. "That was an impressive time period that focused your attention right on one thing." Then, he said, "you bang into the water and the thing's still floating and you realize it's just a matter of getting picked up." For Annie Glenn, relief came as soon as ground-to-capsule communication was resumed after the worst of the re-entry had been completed. - x "As he came through the period that all of us expected to be silent and we could hear him, that was wonderful," she said. "There should be another word to describe wonderful. "I thanked God for his safety, because I knew he had made it. "He made it. He made it fine." 7 , Vv 1959 Becomes astronaut 1962 Becomes first American to orbit the earth. 1984 Bathroom fall forces abandonment of U.S. Senate campaign. .1965 Retires from Marines; becomes Royal Crown Cola Co. executive. Glenn CONTINUED FROM1 Senate chairmanships has been neither straight nor easy. There have been detours and setbacks along the way, most recently in the failure of his 1984 presidential campaign. "But I can't really complain about the , way things worked out," Glenn said In an interview. "They worked out pretty well in the long run. I was in the right place at the right time by whatever fortuitous circumstance there was." Even before his orbital flight, Glenn suffered an apparent setback that turned out to be his life's greatest disguised blessing. Glenn wanted to man the nation's first suborbital flight, After that assignment went to Alan Shepard, "John was about as down as I've ever seen him," Lloyd White, a lifelong friend, recalled. Neither Shepard's nor Gus Grissom's . suborbital flight touched off the worldwide celebration that followed Glenn's flight the third manned flight of the U.S. space program but the first in orbit. -. "In the Shepard flight, I had the sense there was a certain amount of forced cheering," said Leonard Weiss, a scientist who followed the early space program with great interest and who now is Glenn's chief aide on the Governmental Affairs Committee. "Everyone knew that was not the same as putting a man in orbit, which the Russians already had done. "When Glenn went up, everyone knew that was the moment we had to succeed to , catch up. If it did not succeed, there would have been a corporate depression at the failure. "That's why there was such celebration after it. And that it was done by a man who embodied the American spirit in so many ways added to the thing." In 1964 Glenn tried to ride his fame into a U.S. Senate seat. But a bathroom fall injured his inner ear, upsetting his equilibrium and forcing him into several months of recuperation that required withdrawal from the Senate race. The Glenns wiped out their life savings paying off $16,000 in campaign debts. Glenn started referring to himself as a "used astronaut" and an "ex-politician." And a longtime friend said Glenn "seemed like a guy who thinks his life has come to a dead end." In 1970, he suffered another political setback, losing the Democratic Senate nomination to Howard Metzenbaum in one of the most bitter primary campaigns in Ohio history. . Lots of money The political disappointments of 1964 and 1970, however, gave Glenn the time to become a multi-millionaire as a well-compensated Royal Crown Cola Co. executive and as a successful investor although unfavorable economic conditions and a bad motel investment carried him dangerously close to bankruptcy once in the early '70s. In 1974 Glenn began to enjoy political success, winning the Senate nomination in another bitter race against Metzenbaum who had lost the 1 970 general election to Robert Taft Jr. Glenn rolled up a record-setting, million-vote margin of victory in that year's general election, broke his own record with a 1.6 million vote re-election margin in 1980 and won a third term by the smaller landslide of 777,000 votes last year. Politics also handed Glenn the greatest setback of his life, however his unsuccessful run for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination. "I guess, in my whole career, that's the biggest thing I ever attempted and was not successful at," Glenn said recently. "Is it somewhat bitter to be turned down? Yes it is." It was "very difficult" to give up the race in mid-March after suffering large losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and several Southern states, he said. "You don't just lay down an effort like that, because I poured my heart and soul and the family's efforts and everybody's," he said. "There's a self-criticism you go through. You can't help but feel you've let a lot of people down. "I can take my views and my hopes for this country and for the state of Ohio, and I can put them to work here in the Senate, and I can dig into this, and that takes care of me. "But you really have a feeling of all I ' v. 1 ... !;::'': ' f, t j -fr r -'- id 1970 Loses Democratic Senate primary to Howard Metzenbaum. 1974 Elected to U.S. Senate. 1980 Re-elected to U.S. Senate. 19S3 Declares candidacy for Democratic presidential nomination. On anniversary, Glenn to talk on the ground WASHINGTON BUREAU WASHINGTON Thursday morning, just 24 hours before the 25th anniversary of his orbital flight, John Glenn once again will approach the Friendship 7 space capsule that carried him into history. Now, however, the capsule is displayed at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington instead of on top of an Atlas rocket at Cape Canaveral. And Glenn will be conducting a press conference instead of flying into space as the first American to orbit the earth. The press conference was scheduled in response to about 80 requests for media interviews and photographs, many of which could not be accommodated, a Glenn aide said. It will be the first of several events planned over the following week in Washington to commemorate the flight that lifted off at 9:47 a.m. on Feb. 20, 1962. Friday, Glenn will make several television appearances and will attend a $150-a-plate dinner dance to raise funds for a foundation established by the original seven astronauts to provide scholarships to aspiring scientists. The six surviving original astronauts are expected to attend, and Bob Hope and Walter Cronkite are scheduled to be among the program participants. Feb. 25, Glenn will be back at the Air and Space Museum to lecture about his flight. Feb. 26, he will be honored there at a reception sponsored by the National Space Club. these people around the country who heard your views, knew what you wanted to do, and they in effect signed on. And you can't help but feel: Had I only made some different decisions, I would not have let all those people down. And that was the hard part." A close associate said Glenn was "staring out the window for awhile" after the collapse of his presidential campaign. But that was not apparent to the public. The day he announced his withdrawal from the presidential race, he also announced his intention to seek re-election to the Senate in 1986. And his victory in last year's election, coupled with the Democrats' capture of the Senate after six years of Republican control, made him a committee chairman. Power leap As the space program gave Glenn an opportunity, but not a guarantee, for success in politics, the Governmental Affairs chairmanship gives him an opportunity to wield great influence in the federal government. v "Being a committee chairman is a quantum leap in his political power and ability to do things," said William White, a Washington lawyer who was Glenn's chief Senate aide from 1974 until 1983. "To do it at a time the Senate changes hands (from GOP to Democratic control) is really something." As a minority member of the committee, for example, Glenn had three committee aides whose salaries totaled $1 12,000. As chairman, he has direct responsibility for more than 20 aides and a $1.5 million budget. He also will exercise influence over the full committee's $4.4 million budget and its 80 to 90 Democratic staffers. Where previously he had to request that hearings be held on topics of interest to him, now he can schedule the hearings himself As several committee members and aides noted in recent interviews, however, the committee is only what its members make of it. The committee has broad authority to investigate "the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of all agencies and depart I -. i 1 1984 Withdraws from Democratic presidential race. 1936 Re-elected to U.S. Senate. 1987 Becomes chairman of ; Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and of Armed Services Committee's Manpower subcommittee. ments of government." It does not, however, have major legislation automatically drop onto Its agenda every year as, for Instance, the Armed Services Committee must deal with each year's military budget and the Appropriations Committee must deal with all government spending. "There is great discretion as to what you can look at," said Delaware Republican William Roth, the committee chairman from 1981 through 1986 when the GOP controlled the Senate. "As far as oversight, you can look at anything, from anything International to the organization of the federal government to the effectiveness of any particular program. "It's pretty obvious that, if you're on the Foreign Relations Committee, there are some very serious questions coming up. You don't know what Governmental Affairs is going to do until it's announced." Roth disputes the characterization, but Governmental Affairs has not been considered one of the more prominent committees in recent years. In arguing that the committee can command the nation's attention, Glenn, Weiss and others hark back to the famous or Infamous 1950s, when Arkansas Democrat John McClellan used the committee to Investigate union corruption and Wisconsin Republican Joseph McCarthy used it to hunt communists. They note that Glenn used the committee to pass the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act the nation's major attempt to halt the spread of nuclear weapons when he was a junior majority member of the committee in 1978. They point out that, as a minority member since 1981, he has been able to use the committee to promote safety in nuclear facilities and in the airways and to raise questions about the Reagan administration's handling of nuclear trade. And Glenn and Weiss have prepared an ambitious agenda for the beginning of Glenn's chairmanship, Hot topic The agenda includes issues Glenn has dealt with for years, such as nuclear nonproliferation, air safety and nuclear safety. It includes a topic much in the current news because of the Iran-contra arms scan dal but that Glenn had raised before the scandal broke: the roles of the National Security Council and the President's national security affairs adviser In the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. . It also includes such items as the federal budget process, the activities of the federal inspectors general in ferreting out government mismanagement, law enforcement, terrorism, U.S. competitiveness in foreign trade, the homeless, and such broad subjects as the organization of the government for the conduct of foreign policy and what Glenn says is always referred to as "fat, fraud, waste and abuse." Much about Glenn's dogged climb from his modest roots to a serious grasp for the presidency seems to be explained in an answer he gave in 1963 to a question about why a pilot would aspire to the more demanding job of test pilot. "I think we all aspire to the top of the heap in our particular professions because it gives us the most control over the future, which is unknown to us," he said. "If you have respect or have achieved eminence in a certain field, your future is more secure to you than it would be otherwise." That attitude also led many to wonder how he would recover from his slip on the way to the top of the American political heap. "He knows or I assume he knows he will not be president," a long-time associate said. "The ambition (to achieve) is still there. The avenue through which he pursues it is something he's had to sort through." The presidency is not in his future, Glenn said recently, but "you keep climbing" in the Senate. "What we're able to accomplish with the Governmental Affairs Committee will do that," he said. "On the Armed Services Committee, I'll be chairman of the Manpower Subcommittee, so that's another focal point, another position of leadership. "I think you could come back from something like the presidential effort and you could let yourself be so bitter that it interferes with other responsibilities you have. But I don't think I let it interfere with me that much."

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