Jim Paradis is a very humble man who does not always reflect on his whole life (“Monmouth man reflects on experience at Pearl Harbor,” Nov. 11). My very dear friend Jim revealed to me back in 1984, when we were working together as Brother Knights of Columbus starting the St. Francis Xavier Hot Meals Kitchen in Winthrop, that he was one of the pre-original astronauts in the NASA space program. It was he, along with Chuck Yeager, John Stapp and others who rode on the rocket powered railroad sleds beyond the speed of sound in the Mojave Desert and flying the Bell X-1 and X-15 rocket planes studying the physical effects of high speeds, high altitude and rapid stopping on the human body. Their research provided the foundation for our space program and Jim would never admit that he was an original astronaut.

Without their valuable research our successful NASA space program might never have taken off. By the time that these valiant men had completed their research they were too old to be considered for the 1st class of astronauts. In my opinion, they were just as important as Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldren, John Glenn and the others, even though they didn’t receive the credit.

My hat is off to my favorite astronaut, Jim Paradis. Thanks for all that you did for our country.

Al Godfrey


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