Military Career - U.S. Navy
- Entered the Navy in June 1952
- Served as Fire Control Officer on the destroyer,
USS LAWS (DD-558) until June 1953 - completed a tour in the Korean Seas
USS Laws decommissioned on March 30, 1964
[John Young] was my direct superior when I served as FT3 on the USS Laws DD558
and he was Fire control officer. Though only an Ensign at the time, he was the
most respected officer on the ship. When we sustained counter-battery fire
and enemy rounds were striking the ship, it was John Young's leadership which
kept us all cool and focused on returning that enemy fire.... which won the day.
Needless to say I am proud to have served with him. I always tell my friends
that I experienced first hand the meaning of the "right stuff".
- Joseph LaMantia
- In June 1953, entered flight school where he trained
in props, jets, and helicopters - was based at the Naval Basic Air Training
Command, Pensacola, Florida.
"I almost decided against becoming
a pilot, because, as a knowing engineer, you have to wonder about the safety
John Young, "The Sunday Star",
- From June to December 1954, took a six month course
at the Navy Advanced Training School, Corpus Christi, Texas
- After earning his wings, spent four years, from January
1955-1959, as a pilot in Fighter Squadron 103, where he flew F9 Cougars
off the USS Coral Sea (CV-43) and Crusaders off the USS Forrestal (CVA-59).
USS Coral Sea decomissioned 7-1-93 [scrapped] -
USS Forrestal decomissioned 9-11-93 [on hold as a
Lt. Young is third from right on the bottom row.
on the Forrestal
"I remember John Young as a
young LT.JG in charge of the Parachute Riggers and Survival Equipment Division.
Just picture a WW1 Flying Ace in a leather Jacket and white scarf. He was
the epitome of those swashbuckling aviators. He exuded confidence coupled
with uncommon ability. When John Young volunteered for
the test Facility at Patuxent River this assured his acceptance and enabled
him to demonstrate these qualities on his way to bigger and better things
- Johnnie E Hickman, AECS
RET (former shipmate aboard the Forrestal)
- Began U.S.Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River,
Maryland in February 1959, Class 23.
Naval Test Pilot School
- From 1959 until 1962, was a project test pilot and
program manager testing the F4-H weapons systems at the Naval Air Test
in MD - his test projects included evaluations of the F8-D
Crusader and F4-B Phantom fighter weapons systems, evaluation of radar
intercept and bombing fire control systems, and engineering reports of
the flight results.
Air Test Center
While performing an air-to-air
missile test, Young and another pilot were approaching each other's aircraft
at a closing speed of Mach 3 - risking (worst case scenario) destruction
of both aircraft.
"I got a telegram from the chief
of naval operations asking me not to do this anymore."
- John Young
- In the Spring of 1962, Lt. Cdr. Young participated
in Project High Jump where he set two time-to-climb world records in an
F4H-1 Phantom II (BuAer No 149449) - the F4H-1 later became known as the F4-B.
record holders in Project High Jump
- February 21, 1962 - NAS
Brunswick, Maine - 3000 meters (9843 feet) in 34.523 seconds.
- April 3, 1962 - Point Mugu,
CA - 25,000 meters (82,021 feet) in 230.440 seconds.
- Last Navy duty before becoming an astronaut was as
maintenance officer in Phantom Fighter Squadron 143, an all-weather fighter
squadron, at Miramar, CA which he described as "the best job in the Navy".
Young with Ltcdr. Swank
- Formally recommended for promotion to captain by President
Richard Nixon, June 9, 1970.
According to the New York Times (4-18-72),
Nixon also asked about the possibility of promoting Young to admiral after the
Apollo 16 mission, but
the Navy was unwilling to consider three promotions in such a short time
- Retired from the Navy in September 1976 with the rank
of Captain - had completed 25 years of active military service.
"As you saw John was very happy. You know he made a perfect landing, and for a
Navy pilot, that's hard to do."
- Deke Slayton, after STS-1 landing