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    "John Watts Young is quiet competence."
    - New York Times, 3-14-65
    Upon being asked in 1996 if he had any plans to write a book on his life as an astronaut:

    "No, I'm too young for that!"
    John Young

    John Watts Young was born September 24, 1930 in St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, California. His family lived in San Mateo until moving to Cartersville, Georgia in 1933. In 1939, the family moved permanently to Orlando, Florida.

    Historical marker in front of Young's boyhood home

    He is married to Susy, formerly of St. Louis, Missouri.

    Young and wife
    Young and wife Susy
    "She's the best thing that ever happened to me."
    - John Young, after returning from his STS-1 flight
    "...a delightful person full of charm and fun..."
    - Michael Wright, speaking of Susy Young

    Young and wife

    When asked what he considers to be his greatest achievement....

    "I have no idea...but my smartest achievement was when Susy and I got married."
    - John Young, 7-4-00

    Young and wife
    Young and wife

    He has two children, John and Sandy. He also has two grandchildren, Kaity and Lindsey.

    When asked if he had any idea how much time was spent away from his family because of his job:
    "I don't know... A lot - a very lot - probably even more than that..."
    - John Young at a National Air & Space Museum lecture, 4-11-03

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    "I think my favorite photo in my home is the picture of my two little grandchildren."
    - John Young, 3-7-00

    Several biographies mention model aircraft and rockets as being a boyhood interests. In a recent (July 2000) interview, Capt. Young said that he began building model airplanes when he was about 6 years of age and continued to build them throughout high school. A quote from a former high school classmate states, "...in the 11th grade everybody had to make a talk on something... John chose rockets..."

    Drawing is also listed as a childhood hobby, which reportedly has carried over to Mr. Young's astronaut days - several sources have stated that he likes to draw cartoons of his fellow astronauts in action. Mr. Young's father was quoted as saying, "[John] used to draw pictures of airplanes and rockets all the time."

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    Young after practicing in the T-38
    John Young
    Young during survival training

    Young is noted for his sense of humor and dry wit. He and Alan Shepard both had the nickname of "Jose" because of their impersonations of Jose Jimenez.

    "Young lives, works, sleeps, eats and breathes spaceflight."
    - One Small Step, Tim Furniss

    Young stamp

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    "I can't think of a single job I'd rather have - in this world or out of it."
    - John Young

    Young running
    Young and Crippen running with VP Bush

    A 1972 NASA biography listed Mr. Young's recreational interests as handball, running, and working "out in the full pressure suit to stay in shape." His current NASA biography lists wind surfing, bicycling, reading and gardening as his recreational interests.

    John Young portrait

    "Human beings are great explorers...and it's about time that we started looking around for better ways and making the progress we need to explore the solar system with human beings. That's our next goal...not because we want to really, but because we have to."
    - John Young


    Biographies also credit Mr. Young with being very talented on the guitar, ukulele, and harmonica. A New York Times biography (1965) lists Spike Jones records as Mr. Young's musical tastes.

    An article in the May 12, 1967 issue of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Roundup reports on entertainment by the "Fearsome Foursome" at a party observing the 6th anniversary of Alan Shepard's flight.
    "A vocal group calling itself the Fearsome Foursome parodied two Broadway numbers with lyrics rewritten for Shepard's benefit. The Foursome was made up of Richard Gordon, Charles Conrad, John Young, and Tom Stafford."

    Young book
    go forward one page
    "Heroes in Space"
    by John Dunn

    Mr. Young's statistics as listed in "One Small Step":
    • 18th person in space
    • 5th person to make two spaceflights
    • 3rd person to make three spaceflights
    • 2nd person to make four spaceflights
    • 1st person to make five and six spaceflights

    "...he truly is a fascinating man whose modesty is matched only by the scale of his own achievements."
    - Michael Wright
    "'You give me the Space Shuttle and five flights to put anything I want to in there and I could give you a manned space station...'

    Ambition never rests, not even for a man who has left his footsteps on the moon."
    - Shuttle Logbook (TODAY), quoting John Young, April 1981
    Painting by Robert McCall

    "John Young was, is, and will remain, an astronaut."
    - Chicago Tribune, 4-15-81

    Visit Johnson Space Center's official biography for Capt. Young

    John Young then and now

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John W. Young - American & International Hero Title Page

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