Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Letters to the Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 Astronauts After the Successful Completion of Their Mission.

December 18, 1965

Dear Captain Schirra:

Once again you have journeyed to the outer limits of the earth's environment. Once again you have captured the imagination of the entire world. And once again you have returned safely to the applause and admiration of your fellow countrymen. For them I can offer you the highest praise a President can bestow: You have made us all very proud.

Your remarkable rendezvous with Gemini 7 was unparalleled. Certainly we will go on to other accomplishments, but we will never forget that suspenseful moment, last Wednesday, when you and your colleagues met in space and together circled the globe in history.



[Capt. Walter Schirra, USN, Manned Space Center, Houston, Texas]

Dear Major Stafford:

No words of mine can add luster to the splendid triumph in which you have just shared. I do want to say, on behalf of the people of the United States, that all of us are immensely proud of your adventure and its success. You have our lasting thanks, and our hope that the years ahead will bring continued success in our reach for the stars.

I have just sent to the Secretary of the Air Force a memorandum authorizing your promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force. In a small way this symbolizes our gratitude for your courage.



[Major Thomas P. Stafford, USAF, Manned Space Center, Houston, Texas]

Dear Commander Lovell:

The flight you have just completed will be remembered for all time as one of man's great achievements in making his environment. I want history also to record the deep gratitude for your skill and courage, which all Americans feel, and which, as President, I express on their behalf.

You may be interested in knowing that I have approved your promotion to the rank of Captain in the United States Navy. The promotion will be submitted to Congress for confirmation the moment it reconvenes.



[Cdr. James A. Lovell, Jr., USN, Manned Space Center, Houston, Texas ]

Dear Colonel Borman:

I know I speak for the entire nation when I tell you how proud we are of your tremendous accomplishment. We watched your lift-off anxiously. We followed you with pride, orbit by orbit, as space records fell to Gemini 7 and her gallant crew. We cheered your rendezvous with Gemini 6. And now we congratulate you on your safe return after fourteen days in space.

I know the satisfaction which you must personally feel from your vital part in this historic mission. But perhaps I can add to that satisfaction just a little by telling you that I have just approved your promotion to full Colonel.

You have earned that promotion, just as you have earned the gratitude and admiration of every American citizen.



[Lt. Col. Frank Borman, USAF, Manned Space Center, Houston, Texas]

Note: On December 16, 1965, the Gemini 6 spacecraft, manned by Captain Schirra and Major Stafford, returned to earth after nearly 26 hours in space. The Gemini 7 spacecraft, manned by Commander Lovell and Lieutenant Colonel Borman, came down in the Atlantic Ocean on December 18 after 14 days in space. It had served as the target for Gemini 6 in man's first space rendezvous.
See also Items 636, 647, 651.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letters to the Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 Astronauts After the Successful Completion of Their Mission. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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