Enterprise | Oradell (1923-2007)
Wally Schirra was born in Hackensack and raised in Oradell, graduating from Dwight Morrow High School and attending the New Jersey institute of Technology. He finished his BS in aeronautical engineering at the US Naval Academy. A trained fighter pilot, he flew more than 90 combat missions in the Korean War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service. Schirra was chosen as one of the original seven American astronauts and in 1962 became the fifth American in space. He is the only person to fly in all of America’s first three space programs – Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. He logged almost 300 hours in space and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal posthumously. His wit and engaging personality manifested itself to the world when he played “Jingle Bells” on his harmonica while on a Gemini mission in space. After retiring from the service, he became a popular CBS News Consultant and he was co-anchor with Walter Cronkite and Arthur C. Clarke in covering the first Apollo landing on the moon. In later years, Wally co-authored “The Real Space Cowboys” with Ed Buckbee and contributed to the bestselling book “In the Shadow of the Moon.” He died on May 3, 2007.