Retired Sep. 1, 1972.
Brigadier General James A. McDivitt is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut and the manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas.
General McDivitt was born in 1929, in Chicago, Ill. He graduated from Central High School in Kalamazoo, Mich., and received his bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1959. He entered the Air Force as an aviation cadet in January 1951, received his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant in May 1952 at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., and completed combat crew training in November 1952.
He then went to Korea where he flew 145 combat missions in F-80 and F-86 aircraft with the 35th Bombardment Squadron during the Korean War. He returned to the United States in September 1953 and served as pilot and assistant operations officer with the 19th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dow Air Force Base, Maine. In November 1954 General McDivitt entered advanced flying school at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and in July 1955 went to McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., where he served as pilot, operations officer, and later as flight commander with the 332d Fighter Interceptor Squadron. He returned to school in June 1957 at the University of Michigan under the Air Force Institute of Technology program and received his bachelor of science degree.
General McDivitt went to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as a student test pilot in June 1959. He remained there with the Air Force Flight Test Center as an experimental flight test pilot, completed the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School, and joined the Manned Spacecraft Operations Branch in July 1962. He has logged more than 4,500 hours flying time, more than 3,500 hours in jet aircraft.
General McDivitt was selected as an astronaut by NASA in September 1962. He was command pilot for Gemini IV, a 66-orbit, 4-day mission in June 1965. Highlights of the mission included opening of the spacecraft cabin doors, an extravehicular activity period performed by pilot Ed White, and the completion of 12 scientific and medical experiments.
During March 1969 he was also commander of Apollo 9, an earth orbital mission, which was the first demonstration of the entire set of Apollo flight hardware. The highlights of this mission include the first flight of the lunar module, the first rendezvous between the LM and the command and service module, and first joint operation of two manned spacecraft in flight, and an extravehicular activity period.
In June 1969 he left the Astronaut Office and became manager for Lunar Landing Operations in the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office. In this position he was responsible for planning the lunar landing missions subsequent to the first landing and redesigning the Apollo spacecraft to extend their lunar exploration capability.
In September 1969 he became manager, Apollo Spacecraft Program, with overall responsibility for the entire Apollo Spacecraft Program.
General McDivitt is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Astronautical Society, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force design), Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, NASA Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Order of Military Merit from South Korea, and the Air Force Astronaut Wings. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Astronautical Science from the University of Michigan in 1965, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Seton Hall University in 1969, and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Miami University of Ohio in 1970.
He was promoted to the temporary grade of brigadier general effective March 1, 1972, with date of rank Feb. 17, 1972.