HomeNewsArticle Display

Vietnam War rescue pilot goes on to command space shuttle

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Sylvia Saab)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Sylvia Saab)

Col. Frederick Gregory: From rescue pilot to shuttle commander

Col. Frederick Gregory: From rescue pilot to shuttle commander

Col. Frederick Gregory

Col. Frederick Gregory

Col. Frederick Gregory: First African-American to command space shuttle

Col. Frederick Gregory: First African-American to command space shuttle

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- African Americans blazed trails even beyond the stratosphere, as seen in the achievements of retired Col. Frederick D. Gregory, a former Air Force combat rescue pilot and NASA astronaut.

After graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1964, Gregory entered pilot training and attended undergraduate helicopter training at Stead Air Force Base, Nev. He received his wings in 1965 and was assigned as an H-43 helicopter rescue pilot at Vance AFB, Okla., until May 1966.

In June 1966, he went to Danang Air Base, Vietnam, where he was an H-43 combat rescue pilot. When he returned to the United States in July 1967, he was assigned as a missile support helicopter pilot flying the UH-1F at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

Over the next several years, Gregory expanded his skill set - from a fixed-wing pilot at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., as a student at the Patuxent River Air Naval Station, Md., and as an operational test pilot flying fighters and helicopters at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio.

But it was in June 1974 that Gregory would get a chance to make his already impressive repertoire even more distinctive. Gregory was detailed to the NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., where he served as a research test pilot until selected for the astronaut program in January 1978.

Having logged more than 6,976 hours flying time in over 50 types of aircraft, Gregory held various positions as astronaut office representative and lead spacecraft communicator as well as pilot and commander, respectively, of STS-51B and STS-33 spacecrafts. Gregory's missions included the deployment of the Northern Utah satellite in 1985, the STS-33 and STS-44 launches from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., in 1989 and 1991.

The Nov. 22, 1989 STS-33 launch from Kennedy Space Center made history, with Gregory becoming the first African-American to command a space flight.

His accomplishments continued. He and his crew worked on a variety of secondary payloads including the military man in space experiment designed to evaluate the ability of a space borne observer to gather information about ground troops, equipment and facilities. Gregory also took part in extensive studies evaluating medical countermeasures to long duration space flight.

He served as deputy administrator and briefly as acting administrator before his retirement from NASA in 2005.

Engage

Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Battling #COVID; a cyber Airman’s story - https://t.co/HsJv6J7r2A #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient #ReadyAF https://t.co/y7…
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: #ReserveCitizenAirman makes life-saving decision - https://t.co/ZPviQZRrEX (Story by the @307BombWing) #ReserveReady #Rese
Twitter
The Impact of Sharing Stories of Recovery and Resiliency Lt Col Katharine McGregor did not know much about the… https://t.co/17VibuxnTc
Twitter
Many search for years to find their true passion in life. For Staff Sgt. Camrin Northrop, a firefighter for both th… https://t.co/QcNrBXPCV0
Twitter
From their homes to yours, check out the @AirNatlGuard Band of the South! #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/yb7GhZZ5A3
Twitter
Reintegration will be a deliberate & phased approach to protect Airmen & Space Professionals. Learn to maintain rea… https://t.co/egQSAV5uRB
Twitter
The MQ-1B Predator is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft used for i… https://t.co/livZYQyXnH
Twitter
Dr. Quinton Sasnett, a faculty member at Air University, talks about the university's civilian associates degree pr… https://t.co/0BgoCiGCUy
Twitter
Improving mental health through expressive writing. @KadenaAirBase https://t.co/zVoYTQQl5z
Twitter
Medical pros at Kadena Air Base, 3-D printed naso-pharyngeal swabs to test potential #COVID19 patients. The dental… https://t.co/h8q1HgLjRZ
Twitter
The MC-12W is a medium-to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft. Its primary mission is providing intelligen… https://t.co/st7WRJLDHB
Twitter
Know what resources, treatments & therapies are available for invisible wounds. https://t.co/H2A7fYb8s3
Twitter
“The Total Force team at Eielson plays a pivotal role that extends throughout Alaska and projects into the Arctic.”… https://t.co/7nSYEtYWHj
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: 🙌🎉 Congrats to the @usairforce's newest pilots as Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 20-18 graduates today at @…
Twitter
.@JointBasePHH Airmen participate in a ramp drop from a C-17 Globemaster III. The 25th Air Support Ops Squadron is… https://t.co/AZVT6Qzmgv
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is a pleasure to be in #Alaska to see #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals in action! Whether it’s F-35s & F-22s protectin…
Twitter
RT @EielsonAirForce: When @SecAFOfficial comes to visit, we show off the 'cool stuff' https://t.co/sGCSnVOOXg
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: A career worth a thousand words: Colonel Campbell reflects on career in aviation - https://t.co/atNAeYOoMI (Story by @Dobb
Twitter
The Air Force will host the Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower conference virtually August 24–27.… https://t.co/9pRjj6U1lp
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,252,395
Follow Us