The First Giant Leap For Mankind

This has absolutely nothing to do with cycling, but I wanted to call attention to the exploits of one of my heroes, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Joseph W. Kittinger, whom I had the distinct pleasure of meeting in Prague a few days ago.

In 1960, Colonel Kittinger ascended in a helium balloon to a height of 102,800 feet (31,333 meters). And then he jumped. (See picture below.) Almost 50 years later, he still holds the record for the highest parachute jump and longest free-fall.

Then he flew hundreds of combat missions in Vietnam and was taken prisoner of war for 11 months. And there's so much more, including the first solo crossing of the Atlantic in a balloon.

Check out my post about Colonel Kittinger on my other blog, "gusto."


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