Dick Scobee, aged 6, with his younger brother James.
This marks the final post of ScobeeCentral, so I saved this one for last. I started this page back in January in the hope of getting a few photos out into the world that I had not seen hosted online anywhere else, and at the same time, with the aim of trying to raise Scobee’s profile as much as I could amongst spaceflight fans. He deserves to be remembered for so much more than his misfortune to be Challenger’s final commander.
This was a man who risked his life countless times in Vietnam to protect squadron mates while flying an unwieldy aircraft that was designed to carry cargo, not face deliberate enemy fire. He had to fight every promotion board that dared to hold his age against him, and yet he came out on top every time. He fought tooth-and-nail to gain his place in the test-pilot fraternity and it was only natural that he would find his way to the Astronaut Office. He was not the youngest in Astronaut Group 8, nor was he even a fighter-jock, and yet George Abbey, John Young and Alan Bean considered him the best of the 15 pilots in the 1978 intake. There was a reason he was assigned as the pilot for STS-41-C, the most complex and challenging mission that a Space Shuttle had flown up to that date. It wasn’t just a random selection.
Every single anecdote that I have come across paints the picture of a thoughtful, introspective, generous and diligent individual. Amongst his colleagues in the Astronaut Office, he was certainly peerless. The enlisted engine mechanic who became a spacecraft commander… What an example to others, no matter what their dreams or goals in life.
He may be gone, but he should never be forgotten.
Thank you so much for this, and for all of the sources you’ve shared.