Friday, December 6, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
On June 27, 1963, Robert Rushworth flew an experimental plane to a record altitude of 286,000 feet at a speed of 3,545 miles per hour, earning him the recognition as Maine’s first astronaut. The flight earned him astronaut wings, which at that time were awarded to pilots who flew 50 miles or higher,
On June 27, 1963, Robert Rushworth flew an experimental plane to a record altitude of 286,000 feet at a speed of 3,545 miles per hour, earning him the recognition as Maine’s first astronaut.
His 1963 flight in the X-15 earned him his astronaut’s wings, a badge awarded to pilots who have successfully completed a spaceflight. He was also recognized for his career in the air force and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, in 1990.
Dennis Lisherness, a retired Air Force colonel, was awarded a leadership award named after Rushworth when he was an ROTC cadet in 1985. The award was presented to Lisherness, who is also from Madison, by Alexander Richard, another former Air Force officer from Madison and the former principal of Madison Memorial High School.
On his way from Colorado to an assignment in Australia as a young captain in August 1990, Lisherness said the three visited at Rushworth’s home, where he talked to Rushworth about satellite networks, his niche at the time.
As Lisherness was leaving and getting ready to go to Australia, he said Rushworth had some memorable last words.
“Put another log on the barbie,” Rushworth told him from his porch in Madison. Lisherness said the encouragement meant a lot to him as a young officer.
“He was basically saying serve your country well, make us proud and while you’re over there as well, put another log on the barbie and enjoy yourself,” said Lisherness.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
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Elizabeth Ackroyd looks over photographs and memorabilia of Air Force Major Robert Rushworth at the Madison Historical Society on Thursday. The exhibit is part of the Madison-Anson Days event.
Staff photo by David Leaming