Association of Naval Aviation and American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
John Bennett Herrington is a retired United States Naval Aviator, Naval Test Pilot, and NASA astronaut. Born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, into the Chickasaw Nation, John built his career on service.
Having always wanted to be a pilot, Herrington joined the Navy and received his commission from Aviation Officer Candidate School in March of 1984 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1985. He has logged over 4,800 flight hours in over 30 different types of aircraft. In 1995 Herrington received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
In 2002, Commander Herrington flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-113, the 112th Shuttle mission, logging more than 330 hours in space and performing 19 hours, 55 minutes of Extra-Vehicular Activity—the 143rd person to walk in space and the first Native American in history. John honored his Native American heritage during that walk by carrying six eagle feathers, a braid of sweet grass, two arrowheads and the Chickasaw nation’s flag.
In July 2004, Herrington served as the commander of the NEEMO 6 mission, an analog mission that served as a field test in locations that have physical similarities to the extreme space environments. He and his crew lived and worked underwater for 10 days.
Since retiring from NASA in July 2005, his focus has been promoting STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math education and careers, particularly for Native American youth. He undertook RocketTrek, a 4,300-mile cross-country solo bicycle ride from Makah, Washington to Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center, earned a PhD in education from the University of Idaho, and wrote a children’s book, Mission to Space. He serves as a judge and judge advisor for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Oklahoma Regional and supports cultural and educational initiatives across the country.
Commander Herrington is a life member of the Association of Naval Aviation, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Alumni Association, a Sequoyah Fellow and a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.