Login (?): | Contact Us | Join AIEF

Donate Now

Students and Institutions: All applications have been moved to the new AIEF website.

Please go to www.aiefprogram.org to learn more.

Sherman Alexie | John Bennett Herrington | Lionel Bordeaux | Naomi Lang | Wilma Mankiller | Ben Nighthorse Campbell | Ben Reifel

John Herrington

NASA astronaut and Navy Commander, John Herrington was born in Wetumka, Oklahoma. A member of the Chickasaw tribe, John and his family moved around a great deal when he was a child. By the time he was a senior in high school John had moved fourteen times and had lived in Colorado, Wyoming and Texas. After an unsuccessful attempt at college, John worked on a survey team in the mountains of Colorado. There he found that he had an aptitude for math and for solving real-life problems. He returned to college at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and received his degree in applied math in 1983.

Having always wanted to be a pilot, Herrington joined the Navy and received his commission from Aviation Officer Candidate School in March of 1984 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1985. He has logged over 3,300 flight hours in over 30 different types of aircraft. In 1995 Herrington received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

NASA selected Herrington in 1996 as an astronaut and he reported to the Johnson Space Center in August of that year. He has served as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team responsible for Shuttle launch preparations and post-landing operations. Herrington was a member of the sixteenth Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station (November 23-December 7, 2002). He was the first Native American to walk in space. Herrington honored his Native American heritage during that walk by carrying six eagle feathers, a braid of sweet grass, two arrowheads and the Chickasaw nation’s flag.

Commander Herrington is a life member of the Association of Naval Aviation, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Alumni Association, a Sequoyah Fellow and a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. He and his wife Debra have two children.