William R. Pogue
Pogue in August 1975
|Died||March 3, 2014 (aged 84)|
Cocoa Beach, Florida, U.S.
|Other names||William Reid Pogue|
|Occupation||Fighter pilot, test pilot|
Time in space
|84d 01h 15m|
|Selection||1966 NASA Group 5|
Total EVA time
|13 hours 37 minutes|
|Retirement||September 1, 1975|
William Reid Pogue (January 23, 1930 – March 3, 2014), (Col, USAF), was an American astronaut and pilot. Pogue worked for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as a fighter and test pilot, where he reached the rank of Colonel. In addition to working for the Air Force, he was also an accomplished teacher, public speaker and author.
Born and educated in Oklahoma, Pogue graduated from college and enlisted in the United States Air Force, in which he served for 24 years. He flew combat during the Korean War, and with the USAF Thunderbirds. He served as a flight instructor and mathematics professor, and was a versatile test pilot, including two years in an exchange with the Royal Air Force.
Pogue was an Air Force instructor when he was accepted as an trainee astronaut for NASA in 1966. His NASA career included one orbital mission as pilot of the Skylab 4. The crew set a duration record of 84 days that was unbroken in NASA for over 20 years, and in orbit they conducted dozens of research experiments. The mission was also noted for a dispute with ground control over schedule management that news media named "The Skylab Mutiny". Pogue retired from both the USAF and NASA a few months after he returned from Skylab. After this he taught and wrote about aviation and aeronautics in the US and abroad. He died in 2014, aged 84, survived by three children, four stepsons, and his third wife.
Early life and education
Pogue was born on January 23, 1930, in Okemah, Oklahoma to Alex Wallis Pogue and Margaret Frances Pogue and of Choctaw ancestry. He had one older sister, Margaret. Pogue attended primary and secondary schools in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, completing his high school in 1947. He participated in the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Second Class. Pogue received a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 1951, and a Master of Science degree in mathematics from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1960.
Pogue was attracted to flying from an early age, and first flew a plane whilst in high school. Pogue enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1951 and received his commission in 1952. While serving with the Fifth Air Force from 1953 to 1954 during the Korean War he completed a tour in fighter bombers, flying over 40 combat missions. From 1955 to 1957, he was a member of the USAF Thunderbirds. He was a solo and a slot pilot with them.
He piloted more than 50 types and models of American and British aircraft and was qualified as a civilian flight instructor. Pogue served in the mathematics department as an assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from 1960 to 1963. In September 1965, he completed a two-year tour as test pilot with the British Ministry of Aviation under an exchange program between the USAF and Royal Air Force (RAF) after graduating from the Empire Test Pilots' School in Farnborough, England. An Air Force Colonel, Pogue came to the Manned Spacecraft Center from an assignment at Edwards Air Force Base, California, where he had been an instructor at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School since October 1965. He logged 7,200 hours of flight time, including 4,200 hours in jet aircraft and 2,000 hours in space flight.
Pogue became one of nineteen astronauts selected by NASA in group 5 for the Apollo program in April 1966. He served as a member of the support crews for the Apollo 7, 11, 13[a] and 14 missions. He replaced Ed Givens, who died in a car accident, as capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for Apollo 7. No crew members were assigned to the cancelled Apollo missions, but if normal crew rotation were followed, he would have been assigned as command module pilot for the prime crew of the Apollo 19 mission.
Pogue was the pilot of Skylab 4 the third and final crewed visit to the Skylab Orbital Workshop, from November 16, 1973, to February 8, 1974. This was the longest crewed flight at 84 days, 1 hour and 15 minutes to that date. Pogue was accompanied on the 34.5-million-mile flight by Commander Gerald Carr and Science Pilot Edward Gibson. They successfully completed 56 experiments, 26 science demonstrations, 15 subsystem detailed objectives, and 13 student investigations during 1,214 revolutions of the Earth.
The crew also acquired extensive Earth resources observations data using Skylab's Earth resources experiment package camera and sensor array and logged 338 hours of operations of the Apollo Telescope Mount which made extensive observations of the sun's solar processes. Pogue and Carr viewed a comet transiting the sky during an extravehicular activity (EVA). He logged 13 hours and 34 minutes in two EVAs outside the orbital workshop. Pogue retired from both the United States Air Force and NASA on September 1, 1975. He retired to join High Flight Foundation as vice president.
After he retired from NASA, he was self-employed as an aerospace consultant and a producer of general interest videos on space flight. In 1985, Pogue authored the book How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space?, answering 187 common questions he received. In 1992, he co-authored The Trikon Deception, a science fiction novel, with Ben Bova.
Pogue married three times. He married Helen Juanita Dittmar in 1952 and with her they had three children: William R. (born September 5, 1953), Layna S. (born June 9, 1955), and Thomas R. (born September 12, 1957). They later divorced. He married Jean Ann Baird in 1979, until her death in 2009; with her he had five stepchildren. His most recent wife Tina he wed in 2012.
Pogue died in Cocoa Beach, Florida, from natural causes at his home during the night of March 3, 2014, at the age of 84. He is survived by his third wife Tina, three children from his first marriage, and four stepsons from his second marriage. His ashes were sent into Earth orbit using Celestis, a memorial rocket service launch on a Falcon Heavy rocket June 25, 2019.
Pogue along with his crews were awarded many special honors. Pogue won the JSC Superior Achievement Award in 1970. Alongside Pogue, the three Skylab astronaut crews were awarded the 1973 Robert J. Collier Trophy. In 1974, President Richard Nixon presented the Skylab 4 crew with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded the crew the De La Vaulx Medal and Vladimir Komarov Diploma that year. Pogue was among nine Skylab astronauts that were presented the City of Chicago Gold Medal in 1974, after a parade through 150,000 spectators. The American Astronautical Society's 1975 Flight Achievement Award was awarded to the crew. Gerald Carr accepted the 1975 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy from President Gerald Ford, awarded to the Skylab astronauts, who also won the AIAA Haley Astronautics Award in 1975.
The William R. Pogue Municipal Airport[b] in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, was named in Pogue's honor in 1974. The Oklahoma Aviation and Space Museum awarded Pogue the Clarence E. Page Memorial Trophy for "making significant and ongoing contributions to the U.S. aviation industry" in February 1989. Page died ten days before the award was presented and Pogue used most of his speech to memorialize Page's life. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1974. Pogue received the City of New York gold medal, and General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy for the same year.
Pogue has been inducted into three hall of fames. Pogue was inducted into the Five Civilized Tribes Hall of Fame in 1975, and was one of five Oklahoman astronauts inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame in 1980. Pogue was one of 24 Apollo astronauts who were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997. As a member of the USA thunderbirds, he won the Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.
- William Reid Pogue (1991). How Do You Go To The Bathroom In Space?: All the Answers to All the Questions You Have About Living in Space. New York: Tom Doherty Associates. ISBN 978-0-8125-1728-6.
- William Reid Pogue (1985). Astronaut primer. Tucson, Arizona: Libration Press. ISBN 978-0-935291-00-1.
- Ben Bova; William Reid Pogue. The Trikon Deception. ISBN 978-1-4332-2777-6.
- William Reid Pogue (2003). Space trivia. Ontario: Apogee Books. ISBN 978-1-896522-98-2.
- William Reid Pogue (March 2011). But for the Grace of God: An Autobiography of an Aviator and Astronaut (First ed.). Soar with Eagles. ISBN 978-0-9814756-5-3.
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- Official website
- Astronautix biography of William R. Pogue
- Spacefacts biography of William R. Pogue
- William Pogue on IMDb
- Pogue at Encyclopedia of Science