“Was #10 for Mercury 7, but happy to be here now!”
Here is why it says that on his capsule.
Frank always wanted to fly. Over the years, he often repeated the story of a biplane circling overhead when he was a boy on the family farm in Dobrowolski, Texas. The pilot was close enough that Frank saw him wave, and he was hooked for life.
Frank attended Texas A&M and was an accomplished gymnast and aeronautical engineer. He graduated and was commissioned as an Air Force Second Lieutenant in June 1951 and retired in March 1972 after a distinguished career of 21 years.
He was a decorated fighter pilot in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and a test pilot in between. One of the highlights of his career was competing to become one of the original Mercury astronauts. Over the years, Frank would often recount how he thought he was in the “top 25,” but they never told them their exact final rank.
When Frank was in his eighties, he was contacted by an author writing about the Mercury program, and that person had a copy of the original rankings. Frank found out then that he was #10 on the list.
Even though he did not get to go into space, he contributed to future space programs by helping develop astronaut training programs and testing out possible seat configurations. He also helped develop the flight profile for the aircraft, providing zero-g training to astronauts of multiple programs.
Frank has always had a hand in helping others make it into space, and now he has made it himself!