William R. Pogue

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William R. Pogue
William Pogue.jpg
Born(1930-01-23)January 23, 1930
DiedMarch 3, 2014(2014-03-03) (aged 84)
Other namesWilliam Reid Pogue
Alma materOBU, B.S. 1951
OSU, M.S. 1960
OccupationFighter pilot, test pilot
AwardsNASA Distinguished Service Medal.jpg Air Medal front.jpg
Space career
NASA Astronaut
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, USAF
Time in space
84d 01h 15m
Selection1966 NASA Group 5
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
13 hours 37 minutes
MissionsSkylab 4
Mission insignia
RetirementSeptember 1, 1975

William Reid Pogue (January 23, 1930 – March 3, 2014), (Col, USAF), was an American astronaut, U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, and test pilot who was also an accomplished teacher, public speaker and author.

Born and educated in Oklahoma, Pogue graduated from college and enlisted in the United States Air Force, in which he served for 24 years. He flew combat during the Korean War, and with the elite USAF Thunderbirds. He served as a flight instructor and mathematics professor, and was a versatile test pilot, including two years in an exchange with the RAF (UK).

Colonel Pogue was an Air Force instructor when accepted into NASA in 1966. His astronaut career included one orbital mission, as pilot of the last crew of Skylab. The crew set a duration record (84 days) that was unbroken in NASA for over 20 years, and in orbit they conducted dozens of research experiments. The mission was also noted for a dispute with ground control over schedule management that news media named “The Skylab Mutiny”.

Pogue retired from both the USAF and NASA a few months after he returned from Skylab. Over the next 30 plus years he taught, lectured, consulted, and wrote about aviation and aeronautics, in the US and abroad. He died in 2014, age 84, survived by three children, four stepsons, and his third wife.

Early life and education[edit]

Pogue was born on January 23, 1930, in Okemah, Oklahoma to Alex Wallis Pogue and Margaret Frances (McDow) Pogue. He had one older sister, Margaret H., who died in 2012. Pogue was of Choctaw ancestry.[1] Pogue attended primary and secondary schools in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. He participated in the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Second Class.[2]

Pogue received a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma in 1951, and a Master of Science degree in mathematics from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1960.[3]

Flight experience[edit]

Pogue was attracted to flying from an early age, and first flew a plane when in high school.[4] Pogue enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and received his commission in 1952. While serving with the Fifth Air Force during the Korean War, from 1953 to 1954, he completed a combat tour in fighter bombers, flying over 40 combat missions. From 1955 to 1957, he was a member of the USAF Thunderbirds. He was a solo and a slot pilot with them.[5]

He gained proficiency in more than 50 types and models of American and British aircraft and was qualified as a civilian flight instructor. Pogue served in the mathematics department as an assistant professor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from 1960 to 1963. In September 1965, he completed a two-year tour as test pilot with the British Ministry of Aviation under the USAF/RAF Exchange Program, after graduating from the Empire Test Pilots' School in Farnborough, England.[5]

An Air Force Colonel, Pogue came to the Manned Spacecraft Center from an assignment at Edwards Air Force Base, California, where he had been an instructor at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School since October 1965.[5]

He logged 7,200 hours of flight time, including 4,200 hours in jet aircraft and 2,017 hours in space flight.[6]

NASA career[edit]

Pogue (left) and Gerald Carr disposing of trash bags during the Skylab 4 mission

Pogue was one of nineteen astronauts selected by NASA in group 5 for the Apollo program in April 1966.[7] He served as a member of the support crews for the Apollo 7,[8] 11,[9] and 14 missions. He replaced Ed Givens, who died in a car accident, as CAPCOM for Apollo 7.[10][11] No crew members were assigned to the cancelled Apollo missions, but if normal crew rotation were followed, he would have been assigned as command module pilot for the prime crew of the Apollo 19 mission.[12]

Pogue was the pilot of Skylab 4, the third and final crewed visit to the Skylab Orbital Workshop, from November 16, 1973, to February 8, 1974.[13] This was the longest crewed flight (84 days, 1 hour and 15 minutes) to that date.[14] Pogue was accompanied on the record-setting 34.5-million-mile flight by Commander Gerald P. Carr and Science Pilot Edward G. Gibson.[13] They successfully completed 56 experiments, 26 science demonstrations, 15 subsystem detailed objectives, and 13 student investigations during their 1,214 revolutions of the Earth.[15]

They also acquired extensive Earth resources observations data using Skylab's Earth resources experiment package camera and sensor array and logged 338 hours of operations of the Apollo Telescope Mount which made extensive observations of the sun's solar processes. Pogue and Carr viewed a comet transiting the sky during an EVA.[16] He logged 13 hours and 34 minutes in two EVAs outside the orbital workshop.[17]

Pogue retired from both the United States Air Force and NASA on September 1, 1975.[18] He retired to join High Flight Foundation (an inter-denominational evangelical foundation, founded by astronaut James Irwin) as a vice president.[19]

Post-NASA activities[edit]

After he retired, he was self-employed as a consultant to aerospace and a producer of general interest videos on space flight.[6]

In 1985, Pogue authored the book How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space?, answering 187 common questions he received.[20] In 1992, he co-authored The Trikon Deception, a science fiction novel, with Ben Bova.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Pogue married three times. He married Helen Juanita Dittmar in 1952 and with her they had three children: William R. (born September 5, 1953), Layna S. (born June 9, 1955), and Thomas R. (born September 12, 1957).[5] They later divorced. He married Jean Ann Baird in 1979, until her death in 2009;[21] with her he had five stepchildren. His most recent wife Tina he wed in 2012.[22]


Pogue died at his Cocoa Beach, Florida home during the night of March 3, 2014, from natural causes at the age of 84.[23][24] He is survived by his third wife Tina, three children from his first marriage, and four stepsons from his second marriage.[25] His ashes are planned to be sent into earth orbit using Celestis, a memorial rocket service, scheduled for launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket June 24 or 25, 2019.[22][26]

Special honors[edit]

The three Skylab astronaut crews were awarded the 1973 Robert J. Collier Trophy "For proving beyond question the value of man in future explorations of space and the production of data of benefit to all the people on Earth."[29][30] In 1974, President Nixon presented the Skylab 4 crew with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.[31] Federation Aeronautique Internationale awarded the Skylab 4 crew the De La Vaulx Medal and V. M. Komarov Diploma for 1974.[32] The American Astronautical Society's 1975 Flight Achievement Award was awarded to the Skylab 4 crew.[3][33] Gerald Carr accepted the 1975 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy from President Ford, awarded to the Skylab astronauts.[34] The Skylab 4 crew won the AIAA Haley Astronautics Award in 1975 "For demonstrated outstanding courage and skill during their record-breaking 84-day Skylab mission".[35]

The William R. Pogue Municipal Airport (FAA Code: OWP; ICAO Code: KOWP) in Sand Springs, Oklahoma was named in Pogue's honor in 1974.[36] The Oklahoma Aviation and Space Museum awarded Pogue the Clarence E. Page Memorial Trophy for "making significant and ongoing contributions to the U.S. aviation industry" in February 1989. Page died ten days before the award was presented and Pogue used most of his speech to memorialize Page's life.[37]

He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1974.[38] Pogue received the General Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy for 1974.[39] Pogue was inducted into the Five Civilized Tribes Hall of Fame in 1975.[40] He was one of five Oklahoman astronauts inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame in 1980.[41] Pogue was one of 24 Apollo astronauts who were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997.[42]


  • William Reid Pogue (1991). How Do You Go To The Bathroom In Space?: All the Answers to All the Questions You Have About Living in Space. New York : Tom Doherty Associates. ISBN 0812517288.
  • William Reid Pogue (1985). Astronaut primer. Tucson, Ariz. : Libration Press. ISBN 0935291008.
  • Ben Bova and William Reid Pogue. The Trikon Deception. ISBN 1433227770.
  • William Reid Pogue (2003). Space trivia. Ontario : Apogee Books. ISBN 9781896522982.
  • William Reid Pogue. But for the Grace of God: An Autobiography of an Aviator and Astronaut by William Reid Pogue. Soar with Eagles; First edition (March 21, 2011). ISBN 0981475655.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b "Biographical Data Sheet" (PDF). NASA. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "Astronauts and the BSA" (PDF). Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Former Astronaut to Speak Friday". The Tennessean. June 29, 1983. p. 52 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Voices of Oklahoma interview". August 8, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d Recer, Paul (November 18, 1973). "Oldest space rookie has distinguished flying career". Biloxi Daily Herald. Houston. AP. p. 3. Retrieved September 2, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b c d "Astronaut Biography". NASA. March 2014. Archived from the original on December 28, 2016.
  7. ^ Thompson, Ronald (April 5, 1966). "19 New Spacemen Are Named". The High Point Enterprise. High Point, North Carolina. p. 2A – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Roberts, John A. (October 10, 1968). "3 in Apollo Have 6 Shadows on Ground". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. p. 33 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Gleason, Matt (July 20, 2009). "Oklahoma man behind the countdown". Tulsa World – via News OK.
  10. ^ Orloff, Richard W. (June 2004) [2001]. "Apollo by the Numbers: A Statistical Guide". NASA. SP-4029.
  11. ^ Orloff 2001, p. 271.
  12. ^ "Apollo 18 through 20 - The Cancelled Missions". NSSDC. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Skylab Astronauts Return Home Safely". The Winona Daily News. Winona, Minnesota. Associated Press. February 8, 1974. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Skylab Crew Returns to American Ground". Statesman Journal. Salem, Oregon. Associated Press. February 11, 1974. p. 18 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Ramsay, Jim (April 22, 1977). "City Official Hear Astronaut Describe Plans". Valley Morning Star. Harlingen, Texas. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Skylab Crewman Have Personal Goals". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. Enterprise News Service. November 7, 1973. p. 36 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Skylab 3 Establishes Stack of Space Marks". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. Associated Press. February 9, 1974. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Astronauts Pogue, Carr Retire". The Indiana Gazette. Indiana, Pennsylvania. August 25, 1975. p. 23 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Chriss, Nicholas (September 18, 1975). "Astronaut Corps Getting Thinner and Thinner". Florida Today. Cocoa, Florida. p. 11A – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "An Inside View of Outer Space". The San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, California. October 27, 1985. p. 138 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Obituary, Jean Ann Pogue". Bella Vista Funeral Home – via Funeralmation.
  22. ^ a b "William R. Pogue: Astronaut wrote books, won many awards". Orlando Sentinel. March 22, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  23. ^ Paulson, Sarah (March 5, 2014). "NASA astronaut William Pogue, 84, dies". Florida Today.
  24. ^ Sand Springs native, Skylab astronaut Bill Pogue dies at 84
  25. ^ Pearlman, Robert. "Skylab astronaut William Pogue dies at 84". collectSPACE. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  26. ^ Mack, Eric (June 23, 2019). "SpaceX Falcon Heavy to launch ashes of an all-star, astronaut and others". CNET. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Astronaut to Appear Here". Baxter Bulletin. Mountain Home, Arkansas. February 28, 1980. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ "Chicagoans Host Nine Astronauts". The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. March 27, 1974. p. 13-A – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ "Collier 1970–1979 Recipients". Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  30. ^ "Collier Trophy at Test Range". The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. October 3, 1974. p. 21 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ "NASA Fund Drive Backed by Nixon". Playground Daily News. Fort Walton Beach, Florida. UPI. March 21, 1974. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ "FAI Awards". FÉDÉRATION AÉRONAUTIQUE INTERNATIONALE. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  33. ^ "Neil Armstrong Space Flight Achievement Award". American Astronautical Society. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  34. ^ "For Praises Astronauts, Space Program". Daily Press. Newport News. UPI. April 12, 1975. p. 23 – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ "Haley Space Flight Award". AIAA. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  36. ^ "Airport Named for Skylab Flier". Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. Associated Press. February 21, 1974 – via Newspapers.com.
  37. ^ Johnson, James (February 23, 1989). "State Astronaut Cited for Aviation Contribution". News OK. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  38. ^ "Pogue to Talk at OBU Convention". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. August 11, 1974. p. 7 – via Newspapers.com.
  39. ^ "The Gen. Thomas D. White USAF Space Trophy" (PDF). USAF. May 1997. p. 156. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  40. ^ Bentley, Mac (December 4, 2002). "Family lacks paperwork to prove heritage". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. p. 5A.
  41. ^ "State Aviation Hall of Fame Inducts 9". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. December 19, 1980. p. 2S – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ Meyer, Marilyn (October 2, 1997). "Ceremony to Honor Astronauts". Florida Today. Cocoa, Florida. p. 2B – via Newspapers.com.

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