Secret Astronauts


Capt. John L. Finley
United States Navy

"In the space program, you can't be impatient, but that's what Jack was. He was hard-charging and always willing to take on new challenges, the more the better."—Vice Adm. Richard H. Truly


Born on December 22, 1935, in Winchester, Massachusetts, John Lawrence Finley began preparation for a career in the U.S. Navy as a teenager at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana. He later attended the Naval Academy, graduating in 1957, and became an aviator the following year. Finley spent most of his later years in business before his death in 2006.

Career highlights

Like many of his colleagues in MOL, Jack Finley was a war hero. In April 1968, one year prior to MOL's cancellation but after a long string of delays, Finley requested reassignment and returned to active military duty with a tour of Vietnam. For his achievements in combat during the Vietnam War, he earned multiple Distinguished Flying Crosses, Strike Flight Air Medals, and Navy Commendation Medals. Finley served as commanding officer of the USS Kawishiwi tanker before retiring as a Navy captain at 45 in 1980.

Finley also found great success in his civilian life as a businessman. After leaving the military, he spent 15 years with the FedEx Corporation, where he became Vice President of Aircraft Line Operations. He also served as an Executive Vice President at Intrepid Aviation Partners as well as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Dee Howard Aircraft Maintenance.

On September 19, 2006, Finley lost a long battle with cancer and diabetes. He received a traditional burial at sea.

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