Secret Astronauts


Col. Lachlan Macleay
United States Air Force

"The MOL program was not as memorable to me as the friends I made there. I got to be around some of the smartest and most dedicated people in the world, and I wouldn't trade that for anything."—Col. Lachlan Macleay


Lachlan Macleay was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 13, 1931. He earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954, but chose to begin his career in the Air Force instead. He later earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.

Career highlights

For Lachlan "Mac" Macleay, the highlight of his career was not being selected as an astronaut for the MOL program but rather being a squadron commander in combat in Vietnam and keeping all 350 men working under him safe.

A year after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954, Macleay trained as a test pilot and later became a flight instructor at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. There he taught others to fly fighter jets such as the F-86D. Macleay also gained experience piloting the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Macleay returned for a brief stint in the Air Force following MOL's cancellation. He served his celebrated tour of Vietnam in 1971 and retired with the rank of colonel on May 1, 1978. Later, Macleay joined Hughes Aircraft in Tucson, Arizona, where he helped develop missile systems for each of the branches of the military; one of the systems was eventually sold to more than 25 countries.

Today, Macleay works as a volunteer for both Habitat for Humanity and a local hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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