Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace as Director of Space Medicine for the Manned Space flight.

April 20, 1964

LADIES and gentlemen, one of the most pleasant moments in the life of a President is to be present and to help officiate at the swearing in of an able and competent and dedicated American who has agreed to go to work for the Government. Today is one of those happy occasions.

Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace II is going to be our Director of Space Medicine for the Manned Space flight in NASA. Dr. Lovelace is the kind of a man who takes his work seriously. In order to test the face mask that he had helped to develop, he bailed out of an airplane at 40,000 feet. I can only hope that Presidents are not put to any such test.

For this achievement he won the Distinguished Flying Cross. As all of you know he is one of the country's outstanding leaders in aviation medicine which he has also carried over into the field of space. He is a doer as well as a thinker, and such men are rare in these times. He is an administrator as well as a researcher, and such men are very much needed in these times.

He has won just about every award that can be given in the field of aviation medicine. The fact that Dr. Lovelace is a friend of Senator Clinton Anderson only establishes the fact that Senator Clinton Anderson associates with the higher quality of achievement than do most of us.

The Nation is the beneficiary today of a good man and a great talent who places his skills and his courage at the disposal of his fellow countrymen.

I welcome Dr. Lovelace's family and particularly Mrs. Anderson and their daughter and my old and good friend Senator Symington and the most competent Mr. Webb to the White House for this most pleasant occasion.

Had I been able to reach Dr. Lovelace a little earlier I would have asked him what to do about a woman named Lady Bird who was flying in an airplane this morning and got hit by lightning twice and got kind of shellshocked and she decided she would drive home tonight instead of fly back in the plane and she will not get here until 2 o'clock. And I might have just put you on the telephone and gotten you to comfort her a little bit and gotten her to fly on back. But she quit the airplane right in the middle of Ohio and said, "No more lightning today for me."

Note: The President spoke at 6 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Dr. W. Randolph Lovelace as Director of Space Medicine for the Manned Space flight. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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