STATEWIDE — Frank Borman, a former astronaut and CEO of Eastern Airlines, passed away on November 7th at 95. He was the commander of the Apollo 8 mission, the first human journey to the moon over 50 years ago. NASA announced that he died of a stroke in a retirement community in Billings, Montana. Borman became the oldest living astronaut in the country after John Glenn died in 2016.
Borman died a week after the death of Ken Mattingly, a NASA astronaut who was known for his help in bringing Apollo 13 back to Earth after an explosion aboard the spacecraft. Borman was a former fighter pilot who served as commander of the Gemini mission in 1966, setting a 14-day spaceflight endurance record. He then flew to the moon on Apollo 8 in December 1968. The mission made 10 orbits of the moon and returned to Earth.
Born in Indiana in 1928, Borman was an only child and the son of a car salesman who helped him build a prized collection of model airplanes at home. He got his pilot’s license at age 15 and enrolled at the military academy at West Point shortly after World War II. He began his career in 1950 as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a fighter pilot, operational pilot, test pilot, and assistant professor.
Borman became CEO of Eastern Airlines in 1975 and chairman of the board a year later. He led the airline through four highly profitable years, but deregulation, additional debt, and fighting with unions led to Eastern’s demise. Borman resigned in 1986.
“Astronaut Frank Borman was a true American hero,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement.
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