FRANK BORMAN: AVIATION'S MOST DARING EXECUTIVE
Col. Frank Borman is smiling more these days. The American hero who charted his way around the moon and through ticker-tape parades back home has more recently run a gantlet of critics concerned he was gambling with the future of one of our nation's largest airlines.
But Borman, as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Eastern Airlines, has stubbornly insisted that bold chances are sometimes needed in difficult times. So far, he's been right.
Despite corporate worries, Borman looks ten years younger than his actual age of 58. He stands 510 and weighs 168 pounds, the same he weighed as an active fighter pilot--a career nearly cut short by an error in judgment.
As a youngster in Gary, Indiana, Borman wanted two things: to fly and to attend West Point. He did both, but after graduation he caught a cold on his way to Korea; before it was cured, he made the mistake of flying a fighter jet. The result was a damaged eardrum. He was grounded.
While the ear healed, Borman earned a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Later cleared for flight, he became a top-notch flight instructor. In 1962 he was selected as an astronaut; he served as the commander of the Gemini 7 mission in 1965; and three years later he accepted the role as the commander of Apollo 8.
Borman endeared himself to America during the 1968 Apollo 8 voyage. Most of us can recall that Christmas Eve when he, James Lovell, and Bill Anders became the first humans to circle the moon, and the emotional stirring in our hearts when they gave the world their "Christmas present' --a reading of the story of the Creation from Genesis 1:1-10.
"Sy Bourgin of the State Department gave us the idea,' Borman says. "Six weeks before the flight we were told by Julian Sheer of NASA that we would "have a show' on Christmas Eve, and that …