- Artwork by Eli Jorgensen
Welcome to this very special, quite literally out of this world episode with my father, Jim Ogle. You know how they say it doesn’t take a rocket scientist? Well, my Dad is one. On a recent vacation to Florida to celebrate his 80th birthday, he spent nearly three hours telling me his compelling story.
Jim Ogle fell in love with airplanes at the early age of 8 years old. The circumstances that presented this initial passion were far from ideal.
He was recovering in a hospital bed following a 7-hour surgery to essentially re-attach his badly mangled right leg from a horrible school bus wreck. He awoke from the operation to see a model airplane hanging down from a wooden structure over his bed that was to be used as a traction device to slowly pull his left leg back into place. It was broken at the hip and rammed almost three inches into his lower torso.
His injuries would prevent him from being a pilot in the Air Force. But this reality would not deter him from being in the air with airplanes because 12 years later he became involved in space with missiles and rockets on his first job at Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1958. This was the beginning of his 51-year career of being associated with every manned moon mission and all 135 Space Shuttle missions. He finally got his layoff notice along with 8,000 other space workers following the final Shuttle mission, STS-135, in July 2011.
He likes to tell folks questioning his unusual longevity in this field that he was fortunate to be “in the right place at the right time and the right age.” He considers himself blessed for having had the opportunity to be a part of this truly exciting time in America’s beginnings in space.
Fun fact: He requires 10 lemons and multiple servings of tartar sauce with every seafood meal. The last lemon squeeze after the meal is used to clean his hands!
- Tragic Beginnings (08:50)
- Missiles (21:58)
- Meeting Wernher von Braun (42:36)
- Apollo I Fire (48:36)
- Moon Missions (55:55)
- How in the World Was this Possible? (67:27)
- Space Shuttle (87:57)
- Challenger: What Went Wrong? (105:35)
- Columbia: What Went Wrong? (112:08)
- Next Chapter of Space Travel (118:50)
- Takeaways from Space Stories (132:32)
- What Drove You to Overcome Your Adversity? (136:15)
- Advice for Those in the Midst of Adversity (139:48)
- In Closing (144:11)
Continue reading Feet on the Ground, Eyes on the Stars: The True Story of a Real Rocket Man with Jim Ogle (8/3/37 – 8/15/20)