John Glenn Fast Facts

(CNN)Here is a look at the life of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, and former U.S. senator (D-Ohio).

Birth date:
July 18, 1921

Birth place: Cambridge, Ohio

Birth name: John Herschel Glenn, Jr.

    Father: John Glenn, Sr., a plumber

    Mother: Clara (Sproat) Glenn

    Marriage: Anna Margaret (Castor) Glenn (April 6, 1943-present)

    Children: Carolyn Ann; John David

    Education: Muskingum College, 1939-1942

    Military service: U.S. Marine Corps, Colonel, 1943-1965

    Other Facts:
    Flew a total of 149 missions during World War II and the Korean War and received multiple medals and decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions.

    He is the last surviving of the original seven U.S. astronauts from Project Mercury.

    March 1942
    - Enlists in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and upon completing flight training in 1943, becomes a pilot for the U.S. Marines.

    1944 - Flies 59 combat missions during his World War II service.

    1953 - Flies a total of 90 combat missions in Korea, 63 missions with Marine Fighter Squadron 311 and 27 missions with the Fifth U.S. Air Force.

    1954-1956 - After the Korean conflict, Glenn attends test pilot school at the Naval Air Test Center in Maryland.

    1957 - Sets the speed record flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes.

    April 1959 - NASA selects Glenn as one of seven astronauts for Project Mercury.

    1961 - Glenn, the oldest member of the group, serves as backup pilot when fellow astronauts Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Virgil I. Grissom each make suborbital flights.

    February 20, 1962 - An Atlas rocket launches his space capsule, the Friendship 7. Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth, circling the globe three times in four hours and 56 minutes.

    March 1, 1962 - The ticker-tape parade after Glenn's Mercury flight is considered the largest ever in New York, where an estimated 3,474 tons of confetti and ticker-tape fall along a seven-mile route.

    January 1964 - Resigns from NASA's astronaut program.

    1964 - Enters the Ohio Democratic primary to challenge the incumbent Democratic senator, Stephen M. Young, but withdraws after being injured in a fall.

    1965 - Retires from active service in the U.S. Marine Corps to enter the business world.

    1965-1970 - He is vice president and then president of Royal Crown Cola.

    1970 - Glenn enters the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate but loses.

    November 1974-1999 - Elected to the U.S. Senate, serving four consecutive terms (D-Ohio).

    1978 - Chief author of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978, prohibiting the sale of nuclear equipment to nations that currently have none.

    1983-1984 - Runs unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 1984 election. He drops out of the race after failing to win any early primaries or caucuses.

    1987-1995 - Glenn is chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and sits on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services Committees and the Special Committee on Aging.

    February 20, 1997 - Glenn announces on the 35th anniversary of his historic flight that he will not run for re-election in the U.S. Senate.

    October 29, 1998 - A 77-year-old Glenn becomes the oldest person ever to venture into space. Glenn serves as a payload specialist in the STS-95 crew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

    February 2006 - NASA awards Glenn and 37 other astronauts the Ambassador of Exploration Award.

    November 16, 2011 - Receives the Congressional Gold Medal for Distinguished Astronauts along with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

    May 29, 2012 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

    February 1, 2014 - Glenn and his wife, Annie, are present as their daughter, Lyn, christens the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) John Glenn, a U. S. Navy ship.

    May 2014 - Undergoes successful heart valve replacement surgery.

    April 24, 2015 - Ribbon-cutting ceremony of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. The college evolved from the John Glenn Institute for Public Policy and Management, founded at Ohio State in 1998.