Long before his rocket ride from Cape Canaveral that sunny February morning in 1962, John Glenn had accumulated an enviable record of service and accomplishments. A native of New Concord, Ohio, his roots were firmly planted in the strong religious and practical values of Middle America.
While a junior at Muskingum College in New Philadelphia, Ohio, Glenn took flying lessons as part of the Naval Aviation Cadet Program of civilian flight instruction. With World War II in full swing, he changed from the Naval Reserve to the Marine Corps and won his gold wings on 31 March 1943.
First Lieutenant Glenn was ordered to the Marshalls in February 1944. He eventually flew 59 close air support (CAS) missions, although by that time the Marshalls were a backwater of the Pacific war. Glenn returned to the States in February 1945 and was assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina.