COLUMBUS, Ohio — Westlake resident Col. Guion Bluford, 77, the first African American astronaut to fly in space, was awarded the Ohio Distinguished Service Medal Thursday morning.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine presented the award to Bluford for his lifetime achievements in service to Ohio and the United States.
Bluford received a Bachelor of Science degree, Master of Science Degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree all in aerospace engineering, along with other degrees and minors. He attended pilot training at Williams Air Force Base and received his pilot wings in 1966.
After earning his pilot wings, Bluford flew 144 combat missions. He has served in roles including instructor pilot, assistant flight commander and staff development engineer with the Air Force.
In 1978, Bluford was selected to become a NASA astronaut. Following his fourth and final flight in 1992, Bluford logged a total of 688 hours in space. He retired and served in various roles before becoming the president of the Aerospace Technology Group in Cleveland. Bluford was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997, the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010 and the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2019.
On Thursday, Bluford was awarded the Ohio Distinguished Service Medal, Ohio’s highest non-combat decoration for service.