Gathering of Eagles Foundation

Honored as an Eagle in:

2001 2007 2011

Eagle Biography

Charles F. Bolden Jr

Charles F. "Charlie" Bolden, Jr., was born in Columbia, South Carolina on 19 August 1946. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Science, and from the University of Southern California in 1977 with a Master of Science in Systems Management. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Bolden completed flight training in 1970 and became a naval aviator. While stationed in Namphong, Thailand, from 1972-73, he flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the A-6A Intruder. After returning to the US, Bolden served in a variety of positions in the Marine Corps, including two years as a recruiting officer. Following these assignments, he was assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, and completed his training in 1979. While serving as an ordnance test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, he flew numerous test projects and logged more than 6,000 flying hours in the A-6E Intruder, EA-6B Prowler, and A-7C/E Corsair II. Bolden was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1980 and qualified as a space shuttle pilot in 1981. His astronaut career included a multitude of technical assignments, including four successful shuttle missions and more than 680 hours in space. In January 1986, Bolden Bolden piloted the Space Shuttle Columbia during his first shuttle mission, STS-61-C, during which he and his crew deployed the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted various scientific experiments. In April 1990, while piloting the Space Shuttle Discovery during STS-31, Bolden and his crew filmed the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope using multiple cameras, including IMAX, while orbiting the Earth from a record-setting altitude of over 400 miles. During STS-45 in March 1992, Bolden commanded a crew of seven aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis and launched the ATLAS-1 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science). Following this mission, he served as the assistant deputy administrator of NASA until his final mission, STS-60, in February 1994 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. During this mission, he commanded a crew of six, including the first-ever Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard a US spacecraft. Bolden left NASA in 1994 after 14 years of service and was assigned as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy. He was later assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and was promoted to his final rank of major general in July 1998. After serving as the Deputy Commander of US Forces in Japan, he served his final assignment as the Commanding General of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California. Bolden retired from the Marine Corps in 2003. He received numerous awards and military decorations including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, and on 6 May 2006, he was inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. In 2009, he was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the US Senate to become the twelfth Administrator of NASA. As Administrator, he leads the NASA team and manages its resources to advance the agency's missions and goals. He and his wife, the former Alexis (Jackie) Walker, currently reside in Houston, Texas, and have two children and three granddaughters.

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On 3 February 1994, Bolden and the STS-60 crew welcomed the first Russian cosmonaut aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. With the participation of Sergei Krikalyov as a mission specialist crew member, this historic mission was the first involving a joint-American/Russian Space Shuttle crew. The flight also carried Space Habitation Module-2 (SPACEHAB) and the Wake Shield Facility. While in space, the crew conducted a number of joint science activities culminating with 130 Earth orbits. The mission ended successfully on February 11 1994, with touch down at the Kennedy Space Center.

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