Joseph Kittinger facts for kids
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Joseph W. Kittinger II
Colonel Joseph W. Kittinger II, USAF
(pictured as a captain)
First person to conduct stratospheric space diving
|Born||27 July 1928
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
|Allegiance||United States of America|
||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1950–1978|
|Awards|| Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross (6)
Bronze Star (Valor) (3)
Purple Heart (2)
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal (24)
Prisoner of War Medal
Colonel Joseph William Kittinger II (born July 27, 1928) is a retired officer in the United States Air Force (USAF) and a Command Pilot. His initial operational assignment was in fighter aircraft, then he participated in Project Manhigh and Project Excelsior high-altitude balloon flight projects from 1956 to 1960, setting a world record for the highest skydive from a height greater than 19 miles (31 km). He was also the first man to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon, and the first man to fully witness the curvature of the earth.
Kittinger served as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, and he achieved an aerial kill of a North Vietnamese MiG-21 jet fighter and was later shot down himself, spending 11 months as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison.
Kittinger participated in the Red Bull Stratos project as capsule communicator in 2012 at age 84, directing Felix Baumgartner on his record-breaking 24-mile (39 km) freefall from Earth's stratosphere, which broke Kittinger's own 53-year-old world record of 102,800 feet (31.3 km) set in 1959. However, Baumgartner's world record would be broken just two years later by Alan Eustace.
Images for kids
Collings Foundation F-4D Phantom II with markings & serial number of F-4D that then-Lt Col Kittinger achieved his MiG-21 kill in while commanding the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The actual F-4D, AF Ser. No. 66-7463, is now on permanent display at the USAF Academy.
Joseph Kittinger Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.