NASA Astronauts Honor U.S. Veterans

Doug Wheelock and Scott Kelly

Image above: Commander Doug Wheelock (right) and Flight Engineer Scott Kelly hold the Medal of Honor that was awarded to Sgt. Lester R. Stone Jr. Credit: NASA TV

International Space Station Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock (Col., U.S. Army) and Flight Engineer Scott Kelly (Capt., U.S. Navy) paid tribute to United States service men and women around the world in a Veterans Day message. On behalf of the crew, Wheelock and Kelly thanked veterans and their families for their heroic deeds and dedication to serve the country.

During the message, Wheelock and Kelly held the Medal of Honor that was awarded to Sgt. Lester R. Stone Jr., at age 21, who died on March 3, 1969, while serving in Vietnam. His actions helped to save the lives of his fellow soldiers and inspired his whole unit.

“We are carrying it as a tribute to all of those who have served and all of those who love freedom,” said Wheelock. “We wanted to say a huge thank you to our veterans from outer space, from the crew of the International Space Station,” he added.

In addition to both having served in the U.S. Army, Wheelock and Stone were both born in Binghamton, N.Y. Following the completion of his mission, Wheelock plans to return the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Stone’s mother.

“We make a lot of sacrifices living onboard the International Space Station for months on end,” said Kelly, who will command Expedition 26 after Wheelock’s departure from the station. “But those sacrifices pale in comparison to the sacrifices men and women around the globe from all of our armed services have made in this last ten years specifically, but even more so during the entire history of our country,” he added.

› Read bio of Doug Wheelock

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