Gerald Carr is an engineer, retired United States Marine Corps colonel and former NASA astronaut. He was born Gerald Paul Carr was born on August 22, 1932 in Denver, Colorado. His family relocated when he was young, and he was raised in Santa Ana, California. He graduated from Santa Ana High School and then, in 1949, he enlisted in the United States Navy. The following year, he was designated a midshipman with the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment at the University of Southern California. After earning his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1954, Carr received his commission and reported to The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. He completed flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, and Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas. His first assignment was to VMF(AW)-114, where he flew in the F9F Cougar and the F-6A Skyray. In 1961, Carr received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and in 1962 earned his Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University. After finishing his postgraduate training, he served with VMFA(AW)-122, piloting the F-8 Crusader in the United States and the Far East from 1962 to 1965.
In April 1966, Carr became one of 19 astronauts selected by NASA. His initial assignment was to the test directors section of Marine Air Control Squadron Three. He served as a member of the astronaut support crews and as CAPCOM for the Apollo 8 and 12 flights, and he also worked on testing the lunar roving vehicle that would later be used on the lunar surface. He was next in the crew rotation position to serve as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 19; however, the mission was canceled by NASA in 1970.
In 1973, Carr was launched into space for the first time, as commander of Skylab 4, which launched on November 16 and ended on February 8, 1974 after 1,214 orbits of the Earth. Throughout the duration of the mission, the crew carried out many important experiments and scientific demonstrations, including 15 subsystem-detailed objectives and 13 student investigations. After the flight, Carr and his teammates shared the world record for the most individual time in space at 2,017 hours 15 minutes and 32 seconds. That record was broken in March 1978.
Carr retired from the United States Marine Corps in September 1975 and from NASA in June 1977. He then became a senior vice president with Bovay Engineers, Inc., a Houston Consulting Engineering Firm until 1981, when he went to work for the President of Applied Research, Inc. in Los Angeles, California until 1983. From 1983 until 1985, he managed The University of Texas Telescope Project. Finally, in 1984, Carr founded CAMUS, Incorporated, which provides technical support services in zero-gravity engineering, procedures development, operations analysis, training and systems integration. CAMUS contributed to companies like Boeing, as well as the International Space Station.
Throughout his career, Carr was presented with many awards and honors. In 1976, he was given an Honorary Doctorate of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Parks College of Saint Louis University, Cahokia, Illinois. He was also awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, Marine Corps Aviation Association’s Exceptional Achievement Award, and a Letter of Commendation from the Commander of Carrier Division Two for his service with the United States Military. He received the NASA Group Achievement Award, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the Navy Astronaut Wings for his service as an astronaut. Carr has also been awarded the City of Chicago Gold Medal, University of Southern California Alumni Merit Award, Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Robert J. Collier Trophy, and City of New York Gold Medal. Carr was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997.