Michael Collins (astronaut) - Childhood and Education

Childhood and Education

Michael Collins was born in Rome, Italy on October 31, 1930, to United States Army Major General James Lawton Collins, who served in the army for 38 years. For the first 17 years of his life, Michael Collins called Rome; Oklahoma; Governors Island; Puerto Rico; San Antonio, Texas; and Alexandria, Virginia home. He took his first ride in a plane in Puerto Rico aboard a Grumman Widgeon. His father often told of how his own first plane ride had been in 1911 with Frank Lahm in the Philippines.

After the United States entered World War II, the family moved to Washington, D.C. where Collins attended St. Albans School. His mother wanted him to enter into the diplomatic service, but he decided to follow his father, two uncles, brother and cousin into the armed services, and received an appointment to the United States Military Academy, which also had the advantage of being free of tuition and other fees. He finished 185th out of 527 cadets in 1952, the same class as Ed White. His decision to join the United States Air Force for his active service was based on both the wonder of what the next fifty years may bring in aeronautics, and also to avoid accusations of nepotism if he joined the Army where, among other things, his uncle, General J. Lawton Collins, was the Chief of Staff of the United States Army. The Air Force Academy was only in its initial construction phase, and would not graduate its first class for several years; in the interim, graduates of the Military Academy, Naval Academy (such as fellow astronaut Tom Stafford) and the Merchant Marine Academy were eligible for Air Force commissions.

Read more about this topic:  Michael Collins (astronaut)

Famous quotes containing the words childhood and/or education:

    Among the most valuable but least appreciated experiences parenthood can provide are the opportunities it offers for exploring, reliving, and resolving one’s own childhood problems in the context of one’s relation to one’s child.
    Bruno Bettelheim (20th century)

    We have not been fair with the Negro and his education. He has not had adequate or ample education to permit him to qualify for many jobs that are open to him.
    Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973)