One of the 24 astronauts who made it to the Moon was John Leonard “Jack” Swigert Jr., an American. From 1953 through 1965, he was a test pilot, US Air Force pilot, and mechanical and aerospace engineer. Swigert was utterly enthralled by aviation as a child in the 1930s and early 1940s. He began taking flying lessons while working as a newspaper boy and, by the time he was 16, had earned his private pilot’s license. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1953 after receiving his degree and served as a fighter pilot in Japan and Korea. In the latter nation, he had his first plane disaster. He joined the Massachusetts and Connecticut Air National Guard as a jet fighter pilot after completing his regular duty. He also served as a test pilot for North American Aviation before beginning his career in 1966 with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He was one of the three crew members of the tragic Apollo 13 mission, which was aborted due to a number of technical difficulties before it could reach its target. He was an expert in the Apollo Command Module. He served as the executive director of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Astronautics in his later years. Before his tragic death at the age of 51, Swigert had been elected to the Congress.
Early Childhood & Life
Dr. John L. Swigert, an ophthalmologist, and Virginia Swigert welcomed Jack Swigert into the world on August 30, 1931 in Denver, Colorado, the United States. Virginia Spinelli and Elizabeth Berube were his two sisters.
Swigert had spent most of his adolescence in the vicinity of Combs Field, a little airstrip in Denver, and spent the entire day watching the planes take off. By the age of 14, he had grown deeply interested in airplanes and was no longer content to merely observe them. He desired to fly one while inside. He started distributing newspapers to raise money for his flying lessons after realizing how expensive they were. He had already obtained a private pilot’s certificate by the time he reached 16 years old.
After attending Blessed Sacrament School, Regis High School, and East High School in that order, he graduated in 1949. Swigert excelled in school. In addition to excelling in his schoolwork, he was a gifted athlete. At the University of Colorado, where the Buffaloes were his football team, he initially enrolled. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the university in 1953.
Later, in 1965, he earned a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Hartford branch, and in 1967, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford. In 1970, he also received honorary doctorates of science from Western Michigan University and American International College, as well as an honorary doctorate of laws from Western State University.
Career of Jack Swigert
In 1953, Jack Swigert enlisted in the US Air Force right away. At the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, he finished the Pilot Training Program and went to the Gunnery School. He was then assigned to serve as a jet fighter pilot in Korea and Japan. He had his first career collision while he was in Korea. Thankfully, he was able to escape the collision with with minor wounds.
Later, he worked in the same position for the Connecticut and Massachusetts Air National Guards (1957–1960). (1960–1965). He had worked as an engineering test pilot for Pratt & Whitney, an American aerospace company with worldwide service activities, between 1957 and 1964. Before NASA called, he was also one of North American Aviation’s engineering test pilots.
He requested a leave of absence from NASA in April 1973 so that he could work as the executive director of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Astronautics. He left both NASA and the committee four years later.
Swigert had long harbored political aspirations. In 1977, he became a Republican, and in 1979, he was chosen to serve as the vice president of B.D.M. Corporation in Golden, Colorado. The post of vice president for financial and corporate affairs at Gold and Minerals Limited eventually lured him away from B.D.M. He offered his resignation in February 1982 in order to run for a seat in the US Congress.
He easily defeated his Democratic opponent with 64% of the vote in Colorado’s 6th district, becoming the first Member-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives. But he passed away before taking office.
Swigert has been active with a number of organizations over the years. He has held positions as an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a fellow of the American Astronautical Society, and a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He had also been a member of Pi Tau Sigma, Sigma Tau, Phi Gamma Delta, and the Quiet Birdmen.
NASA accomplishments of Jack Swigert
Jack Swigert earlier submitted an application for NASA’s second and third astronaut selections, but was not chosen. He was finally admitted to NASA Astronaut Corps as a member of NASA Astronaut Group 5 in April 1966. He was offered the chance to work as a specialist on the Apollo Command Module per his request.
The Apollo 13 events took place at a time when the US had already defeated Soviet Russia in the “Space Race.” Apollo 13, the third Moon landing mission and the seventh manned mission in the Apollo space program, encountered numerous issues right away. All members of the primary crew were exposed to the rubella virus, and it was later discovered that astronaut Ken Mattingly lacked a natural antibody to the illness.
Swigert took over for Mattingly and joined the team that also included Fred W. Haise, Jr. and James A. Lovell, Jr. On April 11, 1970, the spacecraft was launched, but after a leak in the oxygen tank in the spacecraft’s service module was discovered, the mission had to be canceled. After five days and twenty-two hours in space, they made it back to Earth without incident.
He was supposed to be the command module pilot for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, but because of his involvement in the Apollo 15 postage stamp incident, he was removed from the crew rotation.
Recognition & Achievements
Jack Swigert received the Octave Chanute Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 1966 and the Haley Astronautics Award in 1971.
Swigert received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 in recognition of his illustrious career. The NASA Distinguished Service Medal was also awarded to him.
Both the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame recognized him posthumously in 1983 and 1997, respectively.
On August 18, 2009, the Space Foundation and Colorado Springs District 11 partnered to found the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy.
Personal Legacy & Life
Jack Swigert was referred to as the “epitome of good manners” by those who knew him. He had been single his entire life and was upbeat, serious, and had a unique sense of humor. It was during his political campaign for the US House of Representatives in 1982 that he was diagnosed with having a cancerous tumour in his right nasal tube.
Even after surgery, the cancer migrated to his lungs and bone marrow. On December 27, 1982, he had respiratory failure and passed suddenly at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
In the 1995 space docudrama ‘Apollo 13’, Swigert was portrayed by Kevin Bacon.
Jack Swigert’s Net Worth
Jack is among the wealthiest and most well-known astronauts. Our research of Jack Swigert’s net worth from sources including Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider indicates that it is about $1.5 million.
Swigert participated in Boy Scouts of America activities as a young man and advanced to the rank of Second Class Scout.