Col. Walter Cunningham, USMCR (Ret.), the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 13
Walter Cunningham has enjoyed careers in the United States Marine Corps, with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and in private industry, including twelve years with his own venture capital firm.
Joining the Navy in 1951, Cunningham served as an aviator with the United States Marine Corps from 1953 until August 1956 and in the Marine Corps Reserve until 1975. He was one of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963.
Walt Cunningham is the last remaining crew member of Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo flight. In an 11-day mission NASA characterized as “101 percent successful,” he, Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele validated the redesigned command module through exhaustive system tests and maneuvering exercises in the same spacecraft now on display in the Frontiers of Flight Museum. They also provided the first live television transmissions from a manned space mission, for which they were each awarded an Emmy.
Following the Apollo 7 mission, Cunningham served NASA as Chief of the Skylab Branch of the Astronaut Office. In that capacity he coordinated the operational development, system integration and habitability of the Skylab Space Station, the largest spacecraft ever placed in orbit up to that time.
Col. Cunningham is a retired Marine Corps fighter pilot with 54 missions in Korea and over 4,500 hours pilot time. He has earned graduate degrees from UCLA in physics and the Harvard Graduate School of Business. A member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame, he is a recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Exceptional Service Medal. He and his wife Dot were instrumental in acquiring the long-term loan of the Apollo 7 command module for the Frontiers of Flight Museum.
The All-American Boys is a no-holds-barred candid memoir by a former Marine jet jockey and physicist who became NASA’s second civilian astronaut. Walter Cunningham presents the astronauts in all their glory in this dramatically revised and updated edition that was considered an instant classic in its first edition over two decades ago. From its insider’s view of the pervasive “astropolitics” that guided the functioning of the astronaut corps to its thoughtful discussion of the Columbia tragedy, *The All-American Boys* resonates with Cunningham’s passion for humanity’s destiny in space which endures today. This is a story of the triumph of American heroes. Cunningham brings us into NASA’s training program and reveals what it takes to be an astronaut. He poignantly relates the story of the devastating Apollo 1 fire that took the lives of three astronauts and his own later successful flight on Apollo 7. This new edition includes an update of the manned space program and his “tell it like it is” observation of NASA’s successes and failures. It also includes commentary on the Shuttle disasters of Challenger and Columbia and his views on what NASA should be doing to get back on track and to regain public support.
Purchase the book, The All American Boys, at the Museum Store (214-350-1651).