Retired colonel, astronaut honored for lifetime achievement


Retired Air Force Col. Guion Bluford discusses his career as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and later as the first black astronaut in space at a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Bluford, 77, was presented with the Ohio Distinguished Service Medal, the state’s highest non-combat decoration for service, by Gov. Mike DeWine. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s governor has presented the state’s highest non-combat decoration for service to a retired fighter pilot and astronaut.

Col. Guion Bluford of Westlake in suburban Cleveland flew 144 combat missions in South Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force.

Bluford later earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

In 1983, Bluford became the first black astronaut to fly in space on a shuttle mission.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday presented the 77-year-old Bluford with the Ohio Distinguished Service Medal. DeWine says Bluford’s aviation career is an inspiration to generations of Ohioans. 

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