The Marine Corps University Foundation is pleased and honored to announce the 2018 Semper Fidelis Award recipient is MajGen Charles F. Bolden Jr. USMC (Ret).
Major General Charles Frank Bolden Jr., USMC (Ret)
February 13, 2018 – Quantico, Va. – MajGen Charles F. Bolden Jr. United States Marine Corps (Ret), Astronaut and former NASA Administrator, is being awarded the Marine Corps University Foundation’s prestigious Semper Fidelis Award.
The Semper Fidelis Award honors General Bolden’s lifelong commitment to excellence in leadership and character uniquely associated with the United States Marine Corps. General Bolden will receive this award at the Semper Fidelis Award & Gala on March 16, 2018 at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City.
Major General Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., USMC, (Ret.) most recently served as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from July 17, 2009 until January 20, 2017. Earlier in his career, General Bolden served 34 years in the United States Marine Corps, retiring in 2003 with the rank of Major General.
At NASA, General Bolden led a nationwide team to advance the mission and goals of the U.S. space program. During his tenure, General Bolden oversaw a safe transition from 30 years of space shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and space aeronautics technology development. NASA’s dynamic science activities under General Bolden include an unprecedented landing on Mars with the Curiosity rover, launch of a spacecraft to Jupiter, enhancing the nation’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites, and continued progress toward the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Born in Columbia, SC, General Bolden graduated from C. A. Johnson High School in 1964 and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical science in 1968 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. General Bolden later earned a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977.
In the Marine Corps, General Bolden completed flight training and served as a Naval Aviator, flying more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Later, General Bolden was selected as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office and traveled to space orbit four times aboard the space shuttle, commanding two of the missions and piloting two others. His flights included deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and the first joint U.S.-Russian shuttle mission.
After 14 years as an astronaut, General Bolden returned to duty with Marine Corps operating forces as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1997, General Bolden was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific. During the first half of 1998, he served as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. He was promoted to his final rank of Major General in July 1998 and named Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces in Japan. He later served as the Commanding General of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, CA from 2000 to 2002. General Bolden retired from the Marine Corps in 2003.
General Bolden’s many distinguished honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, three NASA Exceptional Service Medals and four NASA Space Flight Medals. In 2006, General Bolden was inducted to U.S Astronaut Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2017. In 2014, General Bolden received the National Space Trophy and holds several Honorary Doctorate degrees from numerous institutions of higher education.
For more information about The Marine Corps University Foundation, The Semper Fidelis Award, and past award recipient’s, please email Angela Blackiston or call (703)640-6170.