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Schirra retired from the Navy as a captain and resigned from NASA on July 1, 1969, to become president of Regency Investors Incorporated, a major financial complex and worldwide leasing company based in Denver, Colorado. From 1970 to 1973, he was chairman and chief executive officer of Environmental Control Company (ECCO), based in Englewood, Colorado. From 1973 to 1974, he was chairman of the board of SERNCO Incorporated, and for the next three years he was a director at Johns-Manville Corporation in Denver, Colorado. From 1978 to 1979, he was vice president for development at Goodwin Companies Incorporated in Littleton, Colorado.

In January 1979 he formed his own firm, Schirra Enterprises, and he worked as an independent consultant in 1979 and 1980. In 1980, he was elected to the board of directors of Electromedics Incorporated. He has also served as president of Prometheus, an energy development company in Colorado, and on the board of directors of Kimberly Clark, Finalco and Net Air International. In 1984, he and the other surviving Mercury astronauts and Gus Grissom's widow, Betty Grissom, founded the Mercury Seven Foundation to raise money for scholarships for science and engineering students in college. In 1995, the organization was renamed the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Schirra is currently a private consultant in Rancho Santa Fe, California, a public speaker and a television commercial spokesman for Actifed, the cold remedy he took on Apollo 7.

Schirra received numerous honors and awards while in the service of the United States Navy and NASA including; honorary Doctorate of Astronautical Engineering from Lafayette College; honorary Doctorate of Astronautics from the Newark College of Engineering; and an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Southern California. He is a fellow in the American Astronautical Society and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots; a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and American Fighter Pilots Association; a 33rd Degree Mason; director of the Rocky Mountain Airways; on the Department of the Interior Advisory Board on National Parks, Historical Sites and Monuments; a member of the Honorary Belgian Consul of Colorado; and director of Electromedics, Colorado, and Watt County, Nashville, Tennessee.

He has received three Distinguished Flying Crosses; two Air Medals; two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals; the Navy Distinguished Service Medal; Navy Astronaut Wings; the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) Robert J. Collier Trophy in 1963; Newark College of Engineering Alumnus Award; Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) Iven C. Kincheloe Award; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Award in 1963; American Astronautical Society (AAS) Flight Achievement Award in 1966; Kitty Hawk Award; Great American Award; Golden Key Award; American Rocket Society (ARS) Astronautics Award in 1963; and Harmon International Aviation Trophy for 1966. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, on July 26, 1986.

 

"It's interesting because we couldn't see the borders of the different countries. I'm always amazed at how geopoliticians made those borders - rulers meaning dictators, kings or politicians - and apparently we the humans have gone along with it." - Wally Schirra

 

"After Herschel's [John Glenn] second flight on STS-95 in 1998, I was often asked if I would like to fly on a future space shuttle mission. My reply was, 'No, I'm not old enough - anyway, if I were to fly again on a Shuttle mission, I wouldn't want to ride in the back, I'd want the Command. Plus, I don't know if I'd want to face the death risk - Jo [Wally's wife] would probably kill me!' " - Wally Schirra

Read Phil KonstAntin's 1993 article about Wally from "California Highway Patrolman" Magazine


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