January 1990

Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden

Astronaut

Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden

Major General Charles F. Bolden Jr., (USMC Retired) was born in Columbia, South Carolina. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland. Accepting a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation from the Naval Academy, he underwent flight training at Pensacola, FL., Meridian, MS., and Kingsville, TX., before being designated a naval aviator in May 1970.  Between June 1972 and June 1973 he flew more than 100 combat missions into North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the A-6A Intruder while assigned to VMA (AW)-533 at Nam Phong, Thailand. Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Bolden began a two-year tour as a Marine Corps Officer Selection and Recruiting Officer in Los Angeles, CA., followed by three years in various assignments at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, CA.   He was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates. While there, he served as an ordnance test pilot and flew numerous test projects in the A-63, EA-6B and A-7C/E aircraft.  Throughout his career Mr. Bolden has logged more than 7,000 hours flying time in more than thirty models of fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1980, Mr. Bolden qualified as a space shuttle pilot astronaut in 1981 and subsequently flew four missions in space.  During his first mission on board the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986, he participated in the successful deployment of the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted experiments in astrophysics and materials processing. As pilot of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, Mr. Bolden and crew successfully deployed the Hubble Space Telescope while orbiting the earth from a record setting altitude of 400 miles. Additionally, they also conducted extensive scientific experimentation and employed a variety of cameras, including both the IMAX in-cabin and cargo bay cameras for Earth observations. On his third mission in 1992, he commanded the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the first Space Laboratory (SPACELAB) mission dedicated to NASA’s “Missions to Planet Earth.”  During the nine-day mission, the crew operated the ATLAS-1 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science), a system composed of twelve experiments which succeeded in making a vast amount of detailed measurements of the Earth’s atmospheric chemical and physical properties. Immediately following this mission, Mr. Bolden was appointed Assistant Deputy Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He held the Washington, D.C. post until assigned as commander of STS-60, the 1994 flight of a six member crew on the Space Shuttle Discovery.  This landmark eight day mission was the first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission, involving the participation of a Russian Cosmonaut as mission specialist.  The crew conducted a series of joint U.S./Russian science activities and carried the Space Habitation Module-2 and the Wake Shield Facility-01 into space.  Upon completion of this fourth mission, Mr. Bolden left the space program having logged more than 680 hours in space. In 1995, after successfully completing a one-year tour as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Mr. Bolden served as the Assistant Wing Commander, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in Miramar, CA.   In July of 1997, he was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, I MEF, Marine Forces, Pacific.  From February to June 1998, he served as Commanding General, I MEF (FWD) in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait.  In July 1998 he was promoted to Major General serving as the Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces in Japan, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day execution and enforcement of the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Mutual Security. Mr. Bolden completed a two year tour as Commanding General of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing, headquartered at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, CA on 9 August 2002.  Mr. Bolden retired 1 January, 2003 after completing 34 and a half years of active service as a United States Marine.  Mr. Bolden has been awarded a number of military and NASA decorations and has received Honorary Doctorates from several distinguished universities. From April, 2003 to January, 2005 Mr. Bolden served as senior vice president of TechTrans International, Inc., a women-owned language services company serving the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other government and commercial entities doing business in Russia and the former Soviet Republics, with offices in Houston, TX,  Washington, DC, and Moscow, Russia.  He presently serves on the Board of Directors of Marathon Oil Corporation, the Bristow Group, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina as well as the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California. Bolden now resides in Houston, Texas with his wife, Alexis (Jackie).  They are the proud parents of two children, Che`, a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, and Kelly, a medical doctor now serving a two-year fellowship in plastic surgery.  They have three beautiful granddaughters, Mikaley, Kyra, and Talia.