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Robert L. "Hoot" Gibson commanded four of the five Space Shuttle missions on which he flew, including the first docking of a shuttle with the Russian space station Mir.
Gibson was born October 30, 1946, in Cooperstown, N.Y., and received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from California Polytechnic State University in 1969. Following graduation, he entered the Navy and completed advanced flight training two years later. While assigned to Fighter Squadrons 111 and 1 between 1972 and 1975, he served aboard the aircraft carriers Coral Sea and Enterprise – flying combat missions in Southeast Asia. He later graduated from the Naval Fighter Weapons School, known as "Topgun," and from the Navy Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md. In 1977 he was involved in testing the F14A aircraft while assigned to the Naval Air Test Center's Strike Aircraft Test Directorate.
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