CINCINATTI, Ohio (CelebrityAccess) — Former astronaut, U.S. senator and decorated combat veteran John Glenn died on Thursday at the Ohio State Cancer Center. He was 95.
Glenn is perhaps best known as the first American to orbit the earth, when he circled the globe three times aboard Friendship 7 Mercury capsule on February 20, 1962.
The success of Glenn's mission propelled him into the public spotlight, earning him a NASA Distinguished Service Medal and paving the way for him to make a bid for congress. While Glenn was forced to pull out of his initial campaign after suffering a serious injury in a fall, he would later attain office and serve for four terms as a Senator for Ohio.
Glenn's service also extended to two of America's military conflicts when he flew 149 combat missions during World War II and Korea. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions and an Air Medal with 18 clusters and downed three Russian migs in air-to-air combat in the final days of the Korean War.
In 1998, Glenn and Ohio State University launched the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy. In 2006, the University founded the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.
Other honors conferred upon Glenn over the course of his long and storied career include The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland was renamed the John H. Glenn Research Center. – Staff Writers