Two men who consider Washington their home -- Air Force Maj. Frederick D. Gregory and Navy Cdr. Frederick H. Hauck -- were among 35 new astronauts whose selection was announced yesterday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Gregory, 37, the son a former assistant District of Columbia school superintendent and Labor Department official, was one of three blacks named as astronauts yesterday.
In a telephone interview, Gregory said he considered his race irrelevant. "I would hate to think that I was chosen -- or any of the women or minorities were chosen -- because of tokenism," he remarked. "I think my qualifications were adequate -- super -- to be chosen."
His father, Francis A. Gregory, who died last February, had been assistant D.C. school superintendent for vocational education and was later assistant director for manpower development in the Labor Department.
Gregory and Hauck, 36, whose father and grandfather were Navy officers, are both seasoned military pilots. Both flew combat missions during the Vietnam war. Both have served as military test pilots. Both said they had hoped for years that they would someday become astronauts.
"Most pilots would like to be test pilots and most test pilots would like to be astronauts." Hauck said in a telephone interview. He first wrote to NASA in 1964 in hopes of becoming an astronaut, Hauck added, and long before then he had dreamed of flying in space.
Gregory, who was born in Washington, grew up at 4015 Massachusetts Ave. SE, where his mother, Nora D. Gregory, a former D.C. public school teacher, still lives. He attended public schools here, graduating from Anacostia High School in 1958. After a year at Amherst College and another year at American University, he entered the Air Force Academy, where he received a B.S. degree in 1964.
He was a helicopter pilot during the next four years, including a stint in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967 in which he flew 593 rescue missions, picking up downed pilots and trapped ground troops. After training as an F-4 fighter-bomber pilot, he became an Air Force test pilot, flying both helicopters and fighters.
After two years of night studies, he received an M.S. degree in information systems from George Washington University last year, and is now completing a Special program at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk. He is married to the former Barbara A. Archer, of Washington. They have a son, Frederick Jr., 13, and a daughter, Heather, 11.