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Jon McBride


Astronaut Jon Andrew McBride was born August 14, 1943, in Charleston and grew up in Beckley. McBride graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, attended West Virginia University, and received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

McBride says that from the day a U.S. Navy recruiter took him for a flight while he was attending WVU, flying has been at the center of his life. Joining the navy, he earned his wings as a naval aviator and flew 64 combat missions in Vietnam. McBride became an astronaut in 1979, piloted the space shuttle Challenger on an eight-day mission in 1984, and was scheduled to pilot another shuttle mission that was grounded in the wake of the Challenger accident in January 1986. He was assigned to NASA headquarters in 1987 as assistant administrator for congressional relations. He retired from NASA and the navy in 1989 to pursue a business career. He was President and CEO of the Flying Eagle Corporation in Lewisburg.

In 1996, McBride made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for governor of West Virginia. He moved to Cocoa, Florida, where he became involved with the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. He retired in early 2020.

Written by James E. Casto