Legendary American Hero Dead at 95

Legendary American Hero Dead at 95

(NationRise.com) – The commander of Apollo 8’s historic Christmas 1968 flight, astronaut Frank Borman, 95, died November 7 in Billings, Montana.

Born in Gary, Indiana, Borman was raised in Tucson, Arizona. In 1950, he graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree and married his wife, Susan. In 1962, he was chosen by NASA to be one of nine test pilots in the astronaut program.

Borman, along with his crew, William Anders and James Lovell, were part of the Apollo 8 mission, the first Apollo mission to fly to the moon. Launched on Dec. 21, 1968, from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, the crew traveled to the moon for three days. They reached lunar orbit on Dec. 24 and circled the moon 10 times between Dec. 24-25. During a live telecast from the orbiter on Christmas Eve, the astronauts read from the Book of Genesis. The broadcast ended with Borman saying from the Apollo 8 crew, “Good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless” to “all of you on the good Earth.”

During the crew’s fourth orbit of the moon, Anders took the iconic “Earthrise” photo that features a blue and white Earth rising above a gray lunar landscape. On Dec. 27, the crew headed home.

President Jimmy Carter awarded Borman the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Following the Apollo 8 mission, Borman left NASA. In 1970, he began working for Eastern Airlines, the fourth-largest airline in the country. He went on to become the president and CEO of Eastern Airlines. He became its chairman of the board in 1976. In 1986, he resigned from Eastern Airlines and moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

He moved to Bighorn, Montana, where he started a cattle ranch in 1998 with his son, Fred.

Borman never lost his love of aviation and continued flying while in his 90s.

In a statement, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson called Borman “a true American hero” and “one of NASA’s best.” Borman is survived by his two sons, Fred and Edwin, as well as their families. He is predeceased by his wife, who died in 2021.

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