Dr. Guion Stewart “Guy” Bluford, Jr. is an engineer, NASA astronaut, and the first African American in space. Before becoming an astronaut, Bluford was a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He participated in four Space Shuttle flights between 1983 and 1992. In 1983, as a member of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger on the mission STS-8, Bluford became the 1st African American in space as well as the 2nd person of African ancestry in space, after Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez. Bluford was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Overbrook High School. He received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 1964, an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in 1974, a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics, again from AFIT, in 1978, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston–Clear Lake in 1987. He married Linda Tull in 1964 and has two sons, Guion III and James. Bluford attended pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, and received his pilot wings in January 1966. He then went to F-4C combat crew training in Arizona and Florida and was assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. He flew 144 combat missions, 65 of which were over North Vietnam. Bluford was chosen to become a NASA astronaut in August 1979 out of thousands of possible candidates. .