Frank Borman: from pioneering astronaut to Montana rancher - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Frank Borman: from pioneering astronaut to Montana rancher

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Former astronaut Frank Borman and his wife Susan left Arizona and moved to Montana 19 years ago with a nudge from their kids.

Borman said, "I got a call one day from Fred and his brother Edwin.  They said we've been hunting up in Montana and we think you oughta move to Montana.  I said, Huh?"

That reluctance has since turned into home:  "As a matter of fact I figured out the other day I've lived in Montana longer than anywhere else I've lived in my life."

Recalling his military and space service, Borman said, "There was a battle with the Soviet Union to get to the moon first and that was my mission at that time."

Borman said that he wasn't struck with the "I want to pick up this rock on the moon" mindset: "I just wanted to beat the Russians."

The United States did win the space race - a victory that still means a lot to Borman: "I'm very proud of the fact that our country did as well as it did.  There were 400,000 Americans involved in that program and they all did their job well or I wouldn't be here talking to you."

From Borman's official biography on the NASA website:

A hero of the American Space Odyssey, Frank Borman led the first team of American astronauts to circle the moon, extending man's horizons into space. He is internationally known as Commander of the 1968 Apollo 8 Mission. A romance with airplanes that began when he was 15 years old, took Frank Borman to the Air Force and then to NASA.

A career Air Force officer from 1950, his assignments included service as a fighter pilot, an operational pilot and instructor, an experimental test pilot and an assistant professor of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at West Point. When selected by NASA, Frank Borman was instructor at the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California.

In 1967 he served as a member of the Apollo 204 Fire Investigation Board, investigating the causes of the fire which killed three astronauts aboard an Apollo spacecraft, reminiscent of the Challenger tragedy. Later he became the Apollo Program Resident Manager, heading the team that re-engineered the Apollo spacecraft. He also served as Field Director of NASA's Space Station Task Force.

Frank Borman retired from the air Force in 1970, but is well remembered as a part of this nation's history, a pioneer in the exploration of space and a veteran of both the Gemini 7, 1965 Space Orbital Rendezvous with Gemini 6 and the first manned lunar orbital mission, Apollo 8, in 1968.

Borman's retirement from the Air Force in 1970 did not end his aviation career. He became a special advisor to Eastern Airlines in early 1969 and in December 1970 was named Sr. Vice President-Operations Group.

He was promoted to Executive Vice President-Genera Operations Manager and was elected to Eastern's Board of Directors in July 1974. In May 1975 he was elected President and Chief Operating Officer. He was named Chief Executive Officer in December 1975 and became Chairman of the Board in December 1976.

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