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     Billy McClure

Billy B. McClure Titusville Bill McClure, 85, of Titusville, FL went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, April 15, 2009. Beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and devoted Christian, he is survived by wife, Martha, of 63 years; daughters, Pat (Jeremy) Laakso and Linda (Adrian) Smith; son, Billy (Sue); 12 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren; sister, Judy and brothers, Jimmie and Winn, and extended family. A Decorated American World War II veteran of the 82nd Airborne 508, PIR, Co. D., was born March 16, 1924 in Wichita Falls, TX. He was an All- American Paratrooper, part of the Normandy D-Day Invasion and General Eisenhower Honor Guard. He was recommended for the Silver Star and received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Eagle Scout Order of the Arrow. He retired after 31 years of service from General Dynamics Convair: and was the first recipient of the NASA Exceptional Bravery Award. Celebration of Life Serv ice, will be held Saturday, April 18, at 2 p.m. (View ing), with a 3 p.m., Service and a Reception to follow at Westside Baptist Church, 2802 Tropic Street, Titusville. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Westside Baptist Church, Mission Fund (321) 267-7064.
In 1969 McClure was one of two men honored with the first NASA Medal for Exceptional Bravery.
    The medal is given for exemplary and courageous handling of an emergency in NASA program activities by an individual who, independent of personal danger, has acted to prevent the loss of human life or government property.
   In McClure's case, he and fellow propulsion technician Charles Beverlin, were cited for their fast thinking action at the risk of their own lives to close critical valves and preventing the destruction of a tilting Atlas-Centaur rocket destined for the Mariner 6 Mars mission. Click to Read Spaceport News article

The medal has only been awarded to two others since, one in 1970 and the other in 1974