Virgil Banner


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"Lieutenant Colonel Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom had been part of the U.S. manned space program since it began in 1959, having been selected as one of NASA's Original Seven Mercury Astronauts. His second space flight on Gemini III earned him the distinction of being the first man to fly in space twice. His hard work, drive, persistence and skills as a top notch test pilot and engineer had landed him the title of commander for the first Apollo flight. Yet for Grissom, Apollo I was to be just the beginning. He had been told privately that if all went well, he would be the first American to walk on the moon. Although Grissom already had stacked up a very impressive list of career accomplishments, being first on the moon would be the ultimate achievement for the man who grew up in a small town during the lean years of the Great Depression."

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