Charles Duke, a former astronaut who walked on the moon 51 years ago, is the Grand Marshal for the 39th Annual Johnston, SC, Peach Blossom Festival.
The 87-year-old is one of only four living astronauts who have walked on the moon.
When Charles was 6 years old, his family lived in Charlotte, NC. During that time, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. In response, Charles’ father joined the Navy, and the family followed him to California. Later, he was sent overseas and that’s when Charles’ family came to his grandmother’s home in Johnston to live.
Charles lived in Johnston during 1943-44 before moving to Florida and later to Lancaster, SC, where Charles and his twin, Bill, were raised.
As an adult, Charles decided to follow his father into the military and went to the U.S. Naval Academy. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an U.S. Air Force officer.
He is an American former astronaut, U.S. Air Force officer, and a test pilot. As lunar module pilot of Apollo 16 in 1972, he became the tenth and youngest person to walk on the moon at age 36.
A 1957 graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, Mr. Duke served three years as a fighter pilot in West Germany. In April 1966, he was one of 19 men selected for NASA’s 5th group of astronauts. In 1969, he was a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 10. He served as CAPCOM for Apollo 11, the first crewed landing on the moon.
Mr. Duke retired from NASA on January 1, 1976.
The Johnston Development Corporation, a non-profit volunteer organization, sponsors the Festival. The Corporation works to aid the community in areas such as economic development, education, recreation, historic preservation, tourism, scientific and cultural opportunities, and continued promotion of Johnston.
Media Note: Charles Duke is holding a press conference to answer any media questions at 12:30 p.m., May 6, in the Edgefield County Chamber of Commerce Office, 416 Calhoun St., Johnston, SC. A public reception will be held immediately following the press conference. Media members interested in attending the press conference should contact Dean Campbell at email@example.com.