With two of the astronauts having ties to Lubbock we continue to find people here on the South Plains that were touched by the lives of Willie McCool and Rick Husband. Before moving to the Hub City Willie McCool's family was stationed in Guam, and that's where he earned his Eagle scout badge, his scoutmaster now lives here.
NewsChannel 11's Ashley Stacy has the story. It was more than 25 years ago that Willie McCool's family was stationed in Guam, but his Scoutmaster remembers him fondly. And the fact, he was an Eagle scout speaks stars about his hard work and dedication to his fellow man, long before he went on to serve humanity.
'On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the scout law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.'
Scout Executive Eric Howell says the Scout Oath is one that sticks with scouts for life, especially Eagle scouts. "Eagle Scouts are always held to a higher level of recognition, they are recognized as being an Eagle scout always, it isn't as if you became an Eagle scout then stopped. You are always an Eagle Scout. The duty to God, duty to Country stays with you in becoming a man of service," Eric Howell, Scout Executive said.
Of the 221 pilots and scientists selected as astronauts since 1959, more than half of them were scouts, 34 were Eagle scouts.
Willie McCool became an Eagle scout in 1976, Scoutmaster Tommie Barron remembers him well. "He was a very dynamic person, I didn't have any doubt that he would do good in the world whatever he set his mind to I knew he could do," said Tommie Barron, McCool's Scoutmaster.
At the time Tommie Barron didn't know McCool had aspirations of becoming an astronaut, but he knew he had the determination and dedication to achieve whatever goal he set. "We often wondered what ever happened to Willie whenever we got pictures out we'd look at them and just wonder whatever happened to Willie, cause we'd just look at them and know he was such a fantastic person," says Barron.
Barron wishes he'd had the chance to know Willie McCool as the man he became. "I would've liked to have. Well, I wish he would've landed so I could've gotten to know him better, talked to him again," said Barron.
Tommie Barron has provided the local boy scout office with a copy of his pictures of Willie McCool for them to display, and the boy scouts plan to honor McCool at their next group meeting.