The Citadel’s first man in space to recount out of this world journey
NASA Astronaut Lt. Col. Randy Bresnik made Citadel history last November as the first graduate of the Military College of South Carolina to travel in space. This month he will return to his alma mater to talk about his role in that mission and how his Citadel education prepared him for his career in the Marine Corps and with NASA.
“Most people wonder if they will ever get the chance to realize their full potential. Those who attend The Citadel don’t have to wonder. They know,” Bresnik said. “I do not believe I would have blasted off on the space shuttle Atlantis…if I had not made that choice to experience the complete leadership education The Citadel provides.”
Bresnik will take part in the college’s third annual Principled Leadership Symposium and the 167th birthday celebration of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets March 18-20. He also will present items that went with him into space, including a replica of the original Big Red flag.
Earlier this month, what is believed to be the original flag that flew over Morris Island in 1861 when cadets fired upon the federal supply ship The Star of the West arrived at the college. It had been in storage at the State Historical Society of Iowa. The flag, which is in a 10-foot by 7-foot frame, will be officially unveiled at 2 p.m. Friday, March 19 at an invitation-only event (media are welcome). It will go on public display on Saturday, March 20 at the Holliday Alumni Center, 69 Hagood Ave. Bresnik is among the guests attending the unveiling.
A 1989 graduate of The Citadel, Bresnik will speak to cadets and other student delegates following the Leadership Symposium luncheon. During his campus visit he will meet with instructors, cadets and active duty students in the Navy ROTC unit on campus and with the Regimental Band and Pipes. Bresnik was a drummer in the band when he was a cadet.
Bresnik missed his 20-year college reunion in 2009 because he was in space. His visit this month will include his wife, Rebecca, a NASA attorney. She will take part in the symposium’s science and technology panel discussions on Thursday, March 18.
For more about Bresnik’s space mission visit “The Citadel in Space” at www.citadel.edu/atlantis. For his biography, click here.