Astronaut Biography: William A. Oefelein
NASA astronaut William Oefelein, a commander in the U.S. Navy, sits for a preflight portrait. He is assigned as pilot for NASA's STS-116 mission aboard the shuttle Discovery.
Credit: NASA/JSC.

NAME: William A. Oefelein (Commander, U.S. Navy)
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born March 29, 1965 in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, but considers Anchorage, Alaska to be his hometown. He has two children. Recreational interests include weight lifting, wake and snow boarding, fishing, and backcountry hiking. His parents, Randall W. and Billye M. Oefelein, reside in Anchorage, Alaska.

EDUCATION: West Anchorage High School, Anchorage, Alaska, 1983. Received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, from Oregon State University in 1988. Later received a master of science degree in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1998.

ORGANIZATIONS: Seaplane Pilots Association.

SPECIAL HONORS: High Scholarship Graduate Oregon State University, McClarran Award for Strike/Fighter competition. Awarded the Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various other service awards.

EXPERIENCE: Oefelein received his commission as an ensign in the United States Navy from Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida in 1988.

He entered flight training in Texas in 1989 and was designated a Naval Aviator in September 1990. He then reported to Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 101 at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California for initial F/A-18 training.

Upon completion of training, he was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 146 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California where he made overseas deployments aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. While assigned to VFA-146, he attended the US Navy Fighter Weapons School, TOPGUN, and was assigned as the Squadron Air-to-Air Weapons and Tactics Officer.

Oefelein was selected for the United States Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland and began the course in January of 1995. After graduation in December 1995, he was assigned to Strike Aircraft Test Squadron as an F/A-18 Project Officer and Test Pilot.

In February 1997, he went back to the United States Naval Test Pilot School as an instructor flying the F/A-18, T-2, and U-6 aircraft. In February 1998, he transferred to Carrier Air Wing 8, Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia where he was assigned duties as the Strike Operations Officer when he was selected for the astronaut program.

Oefelein has logged over 3000 hours in more than 50 aircraft and has over 200 carrier arrested landings.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in June 1998, Oefelein reported to Johnson Space Center in August 1998. Having completed 2 years of training and evaluation, he is qualified for space flight assignment as a pilot. Recently, Oefelein was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Advanced Vehicles Branch and CAPCOM Branch. Oefelein is assigned as pilot on STS-116, an assembly and crew-rotation mission to the International Space Station.

Last updated: January 2006

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