They were raised here and schooled here. They shared a boyhood love for baseball and flying. They were both born into prominent Washington families. But until a few years ago, they never knew each other - and now they may travel into space together.
Two Washingtonians, Frederick H. Hauck and Frederick D. Gregory, were among the 35 astronauts chosen last month by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to take part in the space shuttle missions of the 1980s.
Two Washingtonians born in 1941. Each with a wife from Washington, a son and a daughter, a passion for historical biographies. Each with a solid-gold record as a military airman and combat veteran.
Yet the tale of Frederick H. Hauck and Frederick D. Gregory is a tale of two cities.
For Hauck, it is a tale of Cleveland Park and of Ordway Street, a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood where he was brought to live with his grandparents on three separate occassions. A tale of the U.S. Navy, in which his grandfather, father and two uncles served, and of St. Albans School, the prestigious private academy that sits beside the National Cathedral.
For Gregory, it is a tale of Fort Dupont and of Massachusetts Avenue. Not the "Mass. Ave." of Embassy Row or Capitol Hill, but a stretch in Southeast that still does not have curbs or side-walks. His is a tale of a self-reliant boyhood, of proud, middle-class parents and of stardom at Sousa Junior High School and Anacostia High School.
Although Hauck and Gregory never knew each other when they were growing up here in the 1950s, they once played varsity baseball against each other.
Their paths crossed again briefly in 1971 when they attended fighter pilot - training school at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Lexington Park, Md. But Hauck was Navy and Gregory Air Force.
Now, because their jobs in the NASA program are different but complementary (Gregory is a pilot, Hauck an on-board scientist), and because 60 space shuttle missions a year are planned for the early 1980s. "I'd say our chances (of being in space together) are very good," Gregory said.
All 35 space shuttle astronauts are due in Houston for training in early July. In the meantime, the Haucks and Gregorys are trying to sell their houses - the Haucks' in Oak Harbor, Wash., the Gregorys' in Hampton, Va. - and look for new ones in Texas.
For Rick Hauck, commander, U.S. Navy, the move will be his 46th. For Fred Gregory, major, U.S. Air Force, it will be his 14th. Such is the military life.
But both men still reflect on - and reflect - Washington. "It was a great place to grow up. I think about it often." said Hauck. "Ah, Washington," said Gregory, "that's home."
Here is the story of two very different Washingtonians, and how they have chanced to wind up in the same place.