Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

More than Military

Surgeon, Pilot, Astronaut

At age 61, Story Musgrave took off into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia for his sixth shuttle mission, and becoming the oldest person to go up into space.

Musgrave attributes the longevity of his success to what he calls his "quest" for knowledge and adventure - a quest first satisfied with the support of his GI Bill benefits.

Musgrave's educational honors include six college degrees:

  • Medical Degree, Columbia University.

  • Master's Degree, business administration, UCLA.

  • Master's Degree, Biophysics, University of Kentucky.

  • Master's Degree, Literature, University of Houston.

  • Bachelor's Degree, Math and Statistics, Syracuse University.

  • Bachelor's Degree, chemistry, Marietta College.
Amazingly, there is one diploma that Musgrave missed: he never finished high school.

As a boy, Musgrave didn't like to read. He dropped out of high school shortly before graduation, joined the Marines and went to Korea. Then he entered college on the GI Bill.

After getting his first college degree, in math, he went to work for Eastman Kodak as a mathematician. After getting his MBA, his chemistry degree, and attending medical school, Musgrave became a surgeon in Kentucky and later earned his biophysics degree. He also taught and conducted research at the National Heart Institute.

Musgrave joined NASA in 1967. He helped design the Skylab space station and systems and procedures for spacewalks. In 1974, he began designing spacesuits, airlock and launch escape systems for the shuttle.

At age 47, in 1983, Musgrave finally flew into space in 1983, on the maiden flight of the Challenger. He went on to become a spacewalking expert, doing so four times for a total of 26 hours. In 1993, he supervised delicate repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope.

As a pilot, Musgrave logged more than 17,700 hours at the controls of 160 types of aircraft. He has more hours than anybody in a T-38 jet trainer. As a skydiver, he has made more than 500 free falls, more than 100 to study human aerodynamics. He has written 25 scientific papers.

Musgrave never stopped his expansive quest for knowledge. He believes in parallel universes, life on other planets and more. He considers himself open to possibilities everywhere.

Today the possibility of an expanded life is open to all veterans through education and the GI Bill - and as Musgrave himself learned, the sky's the limit.

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