AstronautEnshrined 1982 1928-Present
Frank Borman became a hero to people around the world when he led a team of astronauts on NASA’s first moon-orbiting space mission in 1968. Four years later, while working as an executive for Eastern Airlines, Borman committed a different act of heroism. He received a phone call one evening informing him that Eastern flight 401 had disappeared off the radarscope near Florida’s Everglades. Soon, Borman himself was wading through the murky swamps, helping rescue crash victims and loading survivors into rescue helicopters.
- Commander of Gemini 7, which made the first rendezvous of spacecraft in orbit.
- Commanded Apollo 8, which became the first manned spacecraft to leave the earth’s gravity and journey to the moon where they made 10 lunar orbits.
- As a pilot logged over 6,000 hours of flying time.
- President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Eastern Airlines during his 16 year tenure.
Frank Frederick Borman II was born on March 14, 1928 in Gary, Indiana. He was the first and only child born to Edwin & Marjorie Borman, who named him after his paternal grandfather. His paternal great-grandfather, Christopher Borman, had come to the United States from Hanover, Germany around the year 1860. He was only five years old when his passion for aviation began. One of his childhood delights was driving from Gary to Dayton, Ohio, to visit relatives on his mother’s side. On one such visit, his Dad took him for a five-dollar ride with a barnstorming pilot in an old biplane. He was captivated by the feel of the wind and the sense of freedom that flight creates.
Frank’s aunt introduced him to a short, dark Army lieutenant named Albert Hegenberger, who presented him with some airplane models and a children’s book about airplanes that he still possesses and treasures, The Red Eagle.
After learning to fly at the age of 15, Borman attended the U.S. Military Academy and earned his Air Force wings in 1951. After serving with the 44th fighter-bomber squadron and instructing at Air Force weapon schools, he received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and became an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy. Upon completing the aerospace pilot school at Edwards A.F.B., he served there as an instructor, project officer and test pilot.
Selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1962 for astronaut training, Borman commanded the Gemini-7 mission (with James A. Lovell) that included the first rendezvous of spacecraft in orbit. Then in the Apollo lunar landing program he served on the board investigating the fire onboard the Apollo spacecraft. As the Apollo program resident manager, he directed the re-engineering of the Apollo spacecraft. As commander of the Apollo-8 mission, he and his crew (James A. Lovell and William Anders) were launched into Earth’s orbit on December 21, 1968. They then became the first men to leave Earth’s gravity and journey to the moon. After 10 lunar orbits, they returned safely to the Earth. During the Apollo-11 lunar landing he served as a liaison to the President of the U.S. and as his special ambassador. In 1970 he joined Eastern Airlines as vice president of operations and, after completing an advanced management course, became senior vice president of operations. In 1974 he was named executive vice president, general operations manager and a member of the board of directors. By 1976 he had risen to chairman, president and chief executive officer of Eastern.
On July 1st, 1986, Frank Borman resigned from Eastern and made New Mexico his home where he currently works as a consultant.