left three times and found no place else to go.
Please take care of Spaceship Earth."
- Wally Schirra
his life, Wally Schirra was a very popular
speaker at events around the world. He stayed
very active up to the end of his life. I
know this because of working with Wally on
special engagements through my speakers bureau
in San Diego. But before we began working
together on this aspect of his life, I knew him
through his community presence and as a good
I've been a radio personality in Southern
California since 1976 (now at
San Diego KCBQ 1170 AM). When
Wally and Jo Schirra moved to San Diego, I met
him at one of many local events they'd attend.
However it wasn't until 1993 that we really
connected. I was hosting a weekly TV
entertainment show and called Wally to guest on
the show. He didn't hesitate and stopped by the
next day for taping. That led to a
friendship that continued through the rest of
his life. On the day after his passing, I
shared a special tribute to Wally on my old
station, KOGO radio:
listen to it here
He encouraged me to get involved with his
beloved San Diego Air & Space Museum, which I
gladly did. That work continues today as I
remain on the Board of Directors. I'm there and
stay dedicated to the Museum's work because of
Wally. He was like an "aviation mentor". I'm
certainly not alone. At every opportunity, every
appearance, he encouraged and inspired people to
get working, get involved, explore and break the
boundaries... just as he did as a test pilot and
astronaut, then as a community leader.
In recent years Wally and I partnered in
arranging speaking engagements, too. That also
led to meeting Tracy Kornfeld, and seeing this
amazing website come into being. All along
the way, Americans were excited to see how
up-to-date Wally was in person, plugged into the
news and scientific discoveries of the day. He
made doing an hour speech, with questions and
answers, look easy. And he loved the
connection with people. The photos on this
website give you a small sample of places where
he was featured... and hit home runs every time.
Now that he's left us, his legacy endures. I
hope and pray that Americans will use this
moment of reflection to build on what he
accomplished and help to inspire others in his
memory. God bless him. He will be greatly
Mark Larson Media Services, Inc.
San Diego, California
call (619) 881-2851
Tom Stafford, Curt Newport, Rick Searfoss, Charlie Duke, Walt
Ed Gibson, Dick Gordon, Paul Weitz, Jerry Carr, Guenter Wendt,
Scott Carpenter & Bill Dana
Bill Anders, John Young, Gordon Cooper
Konrad Dannenberg in Huntsville
Laura and I are saddened by the
death of Wally Schirra. Wally was a
member of the Original Seven, our
nation's first class of astronauts.
"Jolly Wally," as he was
affectionately known, was the fifth
American to go into space and holds
the distinction as the only
astronaut to fly in each of NASA's
pioneering space flight programs:
Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. His
ventures into space furthered our
understanding of manned space flight
and helped pave the way for
mankind's first journey to the Moon.
Laura and I join Wally's family and
friends and the NASA community in
mourning the loss of an American
President George W. Bush
of us are adjusting to the loss of a
friend. Wally Schirra and I worked
together, flew together and lived
together for more than three years,
as the prime crew of Apollo 2, the
backup crew for Apollo 1 and,
finally, as the prime crew for
Apollo 7. There were long periods
when we spent more time together
than we did with our families.
our small fraternity, friendships
are exceeded only by the bonds of
mutual respect. Mutual respect is
earned in the professional arena,
forged under the pressure of
critical situations. We would, and
did, put our lives in each other's
hands - many times.
of the public knew Wally as a
jokester. I, myself, have described
him as a "happy warrior." Wally may
have been a happy-go-lucky guy, but
he was so much more. Wally gained
our respect the old fashioned
way--he earned it.
could not admire Wally's Mercury
flight? It was test pilot perfect.
It was certainly one of the
highlights of his career, because
there was none better in the Mercury
Wally's contribution to the
often-overlooked Gemini Program was
to fly the first rendezvous in
space; once more, picture perfect.
But he earned my undying respect for
something he did not do; he stayed
in his Gemini VI spacecraft to fly
another day when everything,
except Wally's senses, said to
abort, with two lives hanging in the
balance. For me, it was one of the
two most impressive highlights of
the Gemini Program, along with the
Borman/Lovell 14-day mission.
we were assigned the Apollo 7
mission following the Apollo 1 fire,
Wally's life took on a new sense of
purpose. It was my honor to fly with
my friend, Wally, on the first test
flight of a brand new spacecraft.
The importance of this critical
mission, as well as accomplishing
all of the mission and test
objectives is sometimes lost in the
discussion of colds in space and
television camera schedules. No one
should ever forget that Wally's last
spaceflight was described as "101
are details. Wally should be
remembered for something much more
time when some doctors were saying
that man could not live in space,
Wally was among that small group of
men who volunteered to go where no
man had gone before. In today's
increasingly risk-averse society,
Wally should be remembered for
accepting a challenge to explore the
unknown and prove that man could
live and work in space.
Without people like Wally, no one
today would be talking about "The
Throughout his life, Wally never
forgot that his accomplishments
carried with them an obligation.
There are thousands of people, young
and old, who have been inspired by
the ease with which he shared his
experiences with the public.
proud to have had Wally as a friend.
I will miss him.
Walter Cunningham - Apollo 7 LMP
You couldn't have known any of
the following, so for the record
let me just say that I was the
one who gave Wally the
harmonica, on which he blew
Jingle Bells, at dinner in Crew
Quarters the night before the
Gemini 6A mission and also
created all those cue cards,
shown on the first TV from
space, during his Apollo 7
flight. (not mentioned was "Paul
Haney Are You A Turtle ?") I
also prepared and dubbed all the
music on Govt. cassette tapes
that were carried on the Gemini
Flights..... gave Neil the music
he took to the Moon etc..... and
became a Space Historian just
because I carried a Uher tape
recorder with me during all
those times and recorded
interviews and tons of other
stuff and now my collection of
700+ reels of Audio Tape is in
the Smithsonian Air & Space
Oh well,. they were glorious
times and for a guy from the
record business to have been a
part of it makes me feel very
proud and honored to have
contributed a little.
Mickey Kapp - Kapp Records
When in the course of human
events that event should include
Wally Schirra, let all ye
present know that the Mirth will
be served in bigger helpings
than the tightly wrapped
minidogs. As Wally says, "the
sex wasn;t that good" but Wally
and I were and are close and
good pals from the starting gate
days when Mickey Kapp first sent
"Jose The Astronaut" to
According to the count created
by the Magnificent Seven
themselves, John Glenn, Scott
Carpenter and myself now
constitute three eighths of the
surviving original Mercury Mix.
No greater honor can or will be
bestowed upon this flightless
bird. Ever. No sir.
I close with hopes that this
sentimental sharing will
end WallyGotcha! free.
So far so good.
Bill "Jose Jimenez" Dana
Wally took his last flight. Remember
this about Wally 'Skyray' Schirra.
Wally had a lot of boring
simulations, rigorous tests,
exciting flying and good times with
all of us. Now he's up there in that
big hanger in the sky, doing a lot
of good flying. But before he went
flying, he and Alan 'Jose' Shepard
pulled some really good gotchas. We
miss him and we will be up there one
day and try some of that flying
ourselves. Happy landings,
Ed Buckbee, Co-Author "The Real
Wally Schirra was one of
those Americans who helped move our species
forward by cheating death -- in jets, in
capsules sitting atop the controlled explosions
called rockets, in spacecraft sailing across the
void of space. He will always be remembered,
but now that death has collected that bet, let's
celebrate him one more time and wish God's Speed
to Wally Schirra.
Tom Hanks - Actor, Director, Producer
Today is a sad day for NASA and our
country, as we mourn the passing
yesterday in California of astronaut
Walter "Wally" Schirra. With Wally's
passing, we at NASA note with sorrow
the loss of yet another of the
pioneers of human spaceflight. As a
Mercury astronaut, Wally was a
member of the first group of
astronauts to be selected, often
referred to as the "Original Seven."
Wally is remembered in the close
circle of the space community as the
pilot who flew a "textbook flight"
on his Mercury mission in October
But Wally's spaceflight career went
well beyond Mercury; on his next
flight, in December 1965, he
commanded the Gemini 6 mission with
Tom Stafford as pilot. Wally and Tom
carried out the first rendezvous in
space, flying for hours in formation
with Frank Borman and Jim Lovell in
their Gemini 7 spacecraft, and
completing one of the key steps
along the path to the moon.
The fact that this mission flew at
all will always be known as a
testimony to Wally's cool precision
under stress, for Gemini 6
experienced the first on-pad engine
shutdown in human spaceflight
history. Worse, the crew had a
liftoff indication triggered by a
faulty umbilical connection;
according to mission rules, they
should have ejected from the
spacecraft. But Wally did not feel
what he thought he should have felt
had the booster really begun to take
flight, and so the crew stayed
aboard, saving the mission and quite
possibly the program.
Wally's last flight was Apollo 7,
the first to be conducted in the
aftermath of the disastrous Apollo 1
fire. This flight was another
enormous success, accomplishing
"101% of its objectives," according
to the post-flight debrief. It also
made Wally the first man to command
three different spacecraft, and the
only one to fly Mercury, Gemini and
It was impossible to know Wally,
even to meet him, without realizing
at once that he was a man who
relished the lighter side of life,
the puns and jokes and pranks that
can enliven a gathering. But this
was a distraction from the true
nature of the man. His record as a
pioneering space pilot shows the
real stuff of which he was made. We
who have inherited today's space
program will always be in his debt.
Skyray - what a guy - what a loss!
I, like many of you, am heartsick
over his untimely death. I met Wally
in January of 1960, at the beginning
of the Mercury Program, and spent
the next 40 plus years trying to get
"one-up" on him. I failed miserably.
He drove me nuts!
loved a pun, a "gotcha", or a glass
of chardonnay as much as Wally did.
The 5-gallon "urine sample" he left
for me remains one of his best
gotchas. At least he left it on my
desk instead of high atop an old
wall mounted air conditioning unit,
which is where he usually left them.
He did make collecting samples an
interesting adventure. And who can
forget being a victim of the "come
see my mongoose in the box" trick.
It's a wonder we didn't break
something falling all over each
other when that mongoose came flying
out of the box. You could hear him
laughing all over Cocoa Beach.
Carpenter loved "Yellow Bird" and
Wally loved "Stranger on the Shore"
by Acker Bilk. I gave Wally the
record - then had to take it away
from him because I got tired of
listening to it.
wonderful, warm memories I have of
him. And how wonderful it is that no
one can take these memories from us.
Aloha, dear friend.
Congress has passed H. Res. 446:
Resolved, That the House of
(1) honors the life and
accomplishments of Astronaut Walter
Marty Schirra and expresses
condolences on his passing; and
(2) recognizes the profound
importance of Astronaut Schirra's
record as a pioneer in space
exploration and long-time
contributor to NASA's mission as a
catalyst to space exploration and
scientific advancement in the United
A link to the
full text can be found here:
Pioneer astronaut's ashes
committed to sea during ceremony aboard Ronald
MCSN TORREY W. LEE
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Public
15 February 2008
RONALD REAGAN, At Sea - The ashes of retired
Navy Capt. and astronaut Walter M. "Wally"
Schirra, along with eight other Navy veterans,
were committed to the sea Feb. 11 during a
special burial at sea ceremony on board USS
Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).
Schirra, a former Navy test pilot who was one of
the original seven Mercury astronauts, died at
the age of 84 on May 3, 2007. He holds the
distinction of being the only astronaut to fly
in each of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space
missions. Schirra also had special ties to
Ronald Reagan shipmates, visiting the aircraft
carrier and signing autographs for the crew in
1962, Schirra became the fifth American in space
and the third American to orbit the Earth,
circling the globe six times in a flight that
lasted more than nine hours.
Schirra once wrote, "We shared a common dream to
test the limits of man's imagination and
daring. Those early pioneering flights of
Mercury, the performances of Gemini and the
trips to the moon established us once and for
all as what I like to call a spacefaring nation.
Like England, Spain and Portugal crossing the
seas in search
their nations' greatness, so we reached for the
skies and ennobled our nation."
Ronald Reagan's command religious ministries
department, along with help from the ship's
honor guard, organized the morning ceremony.
in awe of these people in their commitment to
their country, their service, and especially
their families," said Cmdr. Lee Axtell, Ronald
Reagan's command chaplain. "It's Navy tradition
to stop for the day and pay tribute."
Ronald Reagan shipmates eagerly took time out of
routine carrier operations to put on their
service dress blue uniforms to take part in the
Controlman 2nd Class Christopher Gronde, a
Ronald Reagan Sailor who was previously assigned
to the presidential honor guard, said that
despite all of the funerals he's take part in,
each one still affects him deeply.
get this proud feeling about being up there,"
said Gronde. "I take a lot of pride in Navy
tradition," said Gronde.
addition to Schirra, some Ronald Reagan Sailors
had other ties to the military veterans.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Scott Toupin,
from Ronald Reagan's air department, committed
the ashes of his uncle, Senior Chief
Quartermaster William Dawson, to the sea during
Toupin said he was honored to give his uncle his
final resting place and found himself moved by
the ceremony and holding back tears.
never spoke to me about his time in the Navy,"
said Toupin recalling that his uncle was a quiet
and reserved man. "He had served in World War
II, Korea and Vietnam, but I didn't know he was
in [the Navy] until three months before his
the firing of three symbolic volleys for each of
the nine Navy veterans, Ronald Reagan Sailors
bid a final farewell to these former shipmates.
Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003,
making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is
named for the 40th U.S. president; its motto,
"Peace through Strength," was a recurring theme
during the Reagan Presidency.
Navy Secretary Names Two New Auxiliary Dry Cargo
04 March 2008
Secretary of the Navy Dr.
Donald C. Winter announced the naming of the
seventh and eighth Military Sealift Command
ships of the Lewis and Clark-class Auxiliary Dry
Cargo ships (T-AKE)
as Carl Brashear and Wally Schirra.
The selection of Carl Brashear, designated T-AKE
7, honors Master Chief Boatswain's Mate (Master
Diver) Carl M. Brashear, who joined the United
States Navy in 1948. He was a pioneer in the
Navy as the first black deep-sea diver, the
first black Master Diver and the first U.S. Navy
diver to be restored to full active duty as an
amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained
during a salvage operation. After 31 years of
service, Brashear officially retired from the
U.S. Navy on April 1, 1979. Brashear was the
subject of the 2000 movie "Men of Honor"
starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
The selection of Wally Schirra, designated T-AKE
8, was chosen in honor of Captain Walter "Wally"
Schirra. Schirra was a U.S. Naval Academy
graduate and former Navy test pilot who served
in both World War II and Korean War.
On Oct. 3, 1962, Schirra became the fifth
American in space and is honored as one of the
original seven Mercury astronauts. He holds the
distinction of being the only astronaut to fly
in each of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo
programs. Schirra officially retired from the
U.S. Navy and NASA in 1969. Schirra and the
other original Mercury 7 astronauts were the
subject of the 1983 movie "The Right Stuff".
The naming of Carl Brashear and Wally Schirra
continues the tradition of the T-AKE Lewis and
Clark-class of honoring legendary pioneers and
The ship's design is 689 feet in length, has an
overall beam of 106 feet, a navigational draft
of 30 feet, and displaces approximately 42,000
tons. Powered by a single-shaft diesel-electric
propulsion system, the ship can reach a speed of
20 knots. As part of the Naval Fleet Auxiliary
Force, the ship will be designated USNS. The
term stands for United States Naval Ship. Unlike
their United States Ship (USS) counterparts,
USNS vessels are manned primarily by civil
service and civilian mariners working for the
U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command.
A couple of 50+ year
old relics at KSC
Click on photos to enlarge
John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper
Tracy Kornfeld & Walt Cunningham
Blake Rizzo [nice shirt!]
Ray & Dylan Holt
[another nice shirt!]
von Braun team engineer
Brian Atkins & Lisa von Braun
MSFC Film Crew
J M Busby April 17, 2007
with Sigma 7 model
Ed Buckbee, Scott Carpenter
Bill "Jose" Dana
Sigma 7 Model
Cece Bibby & Scott Carpenter
After A Bad Pun
Signing a Flight Helmet
With Sigma 7 Model
Francis French & Walt Cunningham
YBYSAIA! Wally with webmaster Tracy Kornfeld
and co-author of "The Real Space Cowboys", Ed Buckbee
Scott Carpenter Salutes Wally at his Memorial
Radio personality and friend
Larson toasting Wally & Sigma 7 at the Astronaut Hall of
Fame on the first anniversary of Wally's passing, May 2,
Jo & Wally Schirra
Turtle Club Induction with original Turtle:
Gerry Morton, Inductee: author Francis French, Imperial
Potentate: Wally Schirra, Grand Potentate, Ed Buckbee
Rare collage of photos approved by Wally
Schirra but never produced to prove that fellow Mercury Astronaut and good
friend, Gus Grissom, could not have accidentally blown the
Mercury hatch by showing that his glove sustained damage,
while Gus's glove was unscathed
Courtesy of FarthestReaches.Com
Copyright © FarthestReaches.Com
Mt. Soledad Veterans Day Tribute November
Steve Wolfe in Burbank
With Steve Wolfe
Leon Ford of Louisiana
With Gemini 6A crewmate, Tom Stafford and
fellow Gemini and Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan
At one of his final appearances at "Wallyworld",
The San Diego Air and Space Museum