Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard

A mere 50 miles above the Earth is space, and yet it was only 62 years ago that it was the first-time man ventured into outer space and orbit the earth. Of course, as in many of our articles here in the Sunshine Report, there is a New Hampshire connection to those historic moments. In this case, the connection is Alan Shepard – a native of Derry, New Hampshire.

Alan Shepard was born in Derry in 1923 and was always fascinated by flight. Growing up, he would bike 5 to 6 miles to Manchester Airport and do odd jobs in exchange for a ride in a plane. Academically inclined, Shepard skipped several grades, and when World War II broke out, he easily passed the entrance exam to United State Naval Academy and joined the Navy. His time at Annapolis was cut short, as after a month of aviation training, Shepard was assigned to the USS Cogswell in the Pacific as a gunnery officer.

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