RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

Doctor Curmudgeon® Age is Just a Number

By Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAP Doctor Eisman is in Family Practice in Aventura, Florida with her partner, Dr. Eugene Eisman, an internist/cardiologist

It was more than sixty years ago on May 5,1961, when the first United States space flight blasted off with an all-white crew.

President John F. Kennedy was convinced that a black astronaut should be on the next flight.

The President became aware that Air force Captain Ed Dwight had graduated from test pilot school high in the top half of his class. While training to be an Air force test pilot, Dwight had attended Arizona State University and managed to graduate cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering.

Dwight was extremely well qualified to be an astronaut. He had completed Air force courses in experimental test piloting and aerospace research. But even with all those qualifications and the championing of President Kennedy, he was not given the chance to fly off into space until May 9, 2024. A long time coming!

It was a huge disappointment for this man whose lifetime goal was to fly into space.

His dream began when he was just a toddler.

Edward Joseph Dwight, Jr. was born on September 8 1933 into a racially segregated area of Kansas City.

His love of space was evident when this four year old future astronaut found some orange crates in his back yard. Instead of just sitting on them, he actually built a toy air plane! This gifted child with mechanical talents was also a talented artist, became a sculptor in later life.

As a youngster, he not only delivered newspapers but read them. And one fine day, he saw a front page article about a black pilot, Dayton Ragland. This was his wow moment. He stated that he suddenly “wigged out.” At the time he thought, “This is insane. I didn’t even know they let black pilots get anywhere near airplanes…Where did he get trained? How did he get in the military? How did all this stuff happen right before my nose?”

His feet were now firmly planted on his career path. And it was quite a path to reach his goal.

His path had so many roadblocks that when he was not selected into the astronaut program, he resigned from the air force in 1966. He realized that racial politics were at play, blocking him.

Of course, Dwight was more than disappointed, but he had a degree as an engineer and it got him a job with IBM.

Then, his artistic and mechanical skills brought him to the University of Denver where he earned a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in sculpture. He excelled as a sculptor soon having his own gallery and many museum exhibits.

Then…finally! It happened. After waiting sixty years, Dwight lifted off from a launch site in West Texas.

He blasted off, along with five crewmates on The Blue Origin Company’s New Shepard Rocket. The rocket attained more than 357,000 feet and the crew experienced weightlessness.

It finally touched down safely close to its launch site.

Dwight commented that when rocket and capsule separated it was “more dynamic” than he thought it would be.

In an interview with NPR, Dwight spoke of how happy he is to make another flight. “I want to go into orbit. I want to go around the earth and see the whole earth. That’s what I want to do now.”

Edward Joseph Dwight, Jr. has shown that truly, age is just a number.

Dr. Curmudgeon suggests “Bitter Medicine”, Dr. Eugene Eisman’s story of his experiences–from the humorous to the intense—as a young army doctor serving in the Vietnam War.
Bitter Medicine by Eugene H. Eisman, M.D. –on Amazon

Doctor Curmudgeon® is Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D., a physician-satirist. This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors.
SERMO www.sermo.com

Click Here to Order Boxing Interviews Of A Lifetime By “Bad” Brad Berkwitt