This is just a sidelight, but Shuttle Pilot Charles O. Hobaugh is not the only hero in his family. His father, USCG Capt. Jimmy Hobaugh on the night of November 10, 1975 deployed his command- the 180 foot bouy tender WOODRUSH- from the port of Duluth MN in search of the EDMUND FITZGERALD which had gone missing on Lake Superior in hurricane force winds. His vessel, although not listed as ready for duty (Bravo Six status- she could be made ready for a rescue mission in six hours- his crew did it in less than 3 hours), went out into a storm that had just sent to the bottom a 729 foot oreboat. It took him 24 hours to fight his way all the way across the lake to the last reported location of the Fitz. Along the way he rolled the WOODRUSH more than 50 degrees. There is a saying in the Coast Guard that is held over from the old United States Life Saving Service: You have to go out- but you don't have to come back. It was duty that sent Jimmy Hobaugh out that night.
I had the good luck to sit and talk to Capt'n Jimmy back in 2001 as a part of my job of Great Lakes research historian/author. He, matter-of-factly told me his story and then added "By the way- did ya' know that my son is an astronaut?" Today- another Hobaugh, in a matter-of-fact manner, will do his dangerous duty.
I figure in the hours ahead the media types will be spouting all sorts of dribble about NASA scandles, because if it bleeds, it leads- so it may be nice to know a piece of inspirational information about a crewmember and his father. Both are heros in my book.