Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 75° Partly Cloudy
News >  Washington

Cle Elum native lost in Challenger disaster

This photo provided by NASA shows the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger mission 51L. All seven members of the crew were killed when the shuttle exploded during launch on Jan. 28, 1986. Front row from left are Michael J. Smith, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, and Ronald E. McNair. Second row from left are Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik. (Associated Press / NASA)
This photo provided by NASA shows the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger mission 51L. All seven members of the crew were killed when the shuttle exploded during launch on Jan. 28, 1986. Front row from left are Michael J. Smith, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, and Ronald E. McNair. Second row from left are Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik. (Associated Press / NASA)
By Donald W. Meyers Yakima Herald-Republic

When the space shuttle Challenger blasted off on its final, ill-fated mission on this day 32 years ago, a Central Washington man was in command.

Francis R. “Dick” Scobee, who was born in Cle Elum, was last heard acknowledging the order to bring the shuttle’s engines up to full throttle: “Roger, go with full throttle up.”

Three seconds later, the shuttle’s main fuel tank exploded, killing Scobee and his six crewmates, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, as millions of people watched on live television, including countless school children.

Scobee, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, was born May 19, 1939, in Cle Elum. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1957 after graduating from Auburn High School.

In the Air Force, Scobee was initially trained as a mechanic, but he didn’t want to just fix airplanes. He wanted to fly them.

Wordcount: 142
Tags: Challenger

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com