Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom

Gus Grissom

Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom, a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, was born on April 3, 1926 in Mitchell, Indiana. During the Korean War he flew 100 combat missions in F-86s with the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.

Grissom and his crewmates, Roger Chaffee and Ed White, died on January 27, 1967 in a fire aboard the Apollo 1 spacecraft during a ground test at Pad 34, Cape Canaveral (then known as Cape Kennedy), Florida. Ed White, the third member of the Apollo 1 crew, is buried at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

NASA Biography

Space Flights:

  • Pilot, Mercury-Redstone 4, July 21, 1961. Liberty Bell 7, 2nd sub-orbital flight. The capsule sank after the hatch blew prematurely. The capsule was recovered in 1999 and is now on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
  • Commander, Gemini 3, March 23, 1965. The Unsinkable Molly Brown, first manned flight of the Gemini series, with John Young

Total Hours in Space: 5+

Astronaut Group: 1-April 9, 1959

Degrees: BS, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 1950

Military Service & Awards: Served in World War II and Korea. Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster for his Korean service, two NASA Distinguished Service medals and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal; the Air Force Command Astronaut Wings.

Apollo 1 crew photo
Apollo 1 crew portrait. Left to right: Ed White, Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee.

Interred at Arlington National Cemetery: January 31, 1967

Gus Grissom and family
Gus Grissom and family

Betty Lavonne (Moore) Grissom was born on August 8, 1927 in Mitchell, Indiana. She and Gus met in high school in Mitchell and were married in 1945. They had two sons, Scott and Mark. She died on October 7, 2018 and was interred with her husband on December 20, 2018.

Section: 3
Grave: 2503-E
Grid: Q-15

How to locate: From the Memorial Amphitheater walk South on Memorial Drive, turn right on Porter Drive, then left on McPherson Drive and left onto McKinley Drive. The roadway curves around a rectangular-shaped grassy area. Turn to the left, then right, around the grassy area. When you see a large black McGee headstone to your left just before the intersection with Miles Drive, turn right to continue on McKinley and stop after a few feet. Your back will be to the Air Force memorial in the distance. The Grissom headstone is in the third row, to the left of the Chaffee gravesite.

Photo updates pending.