There’s a strange connection between former astronaut John Glenn and HUSTLER Magazine publisher Larry Flynt. John Glenn may even owe his life to Larry Flynt who was partially responsible for Glenn’s safe re-entry from Earth’s orbit. In 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as the U.S. sought to catch up with the ambitious Soviet space efforts. John Glenn’s Mercury spacecraft, Friendship 7, needed the best navy radar man at the time to safely bring his spacecraft back from orbit to a safe landing in the ocean for recovery. At the time, one of the finest navy radar men on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise was Larry Flynt.
But, Larry Flynt wasn’t always enlisted in the navy. Born in deep poverty in perhaps the poorest county in the United States in Kentucky, Flynt used a phony ID to enlist in the U.S. Army at the age of just15, but as the army sought to scale back it’s peacetime military to cut costs as the economic slowdown and recession of the Eisenhower years extended into the early John Kennedy Administration years, Larry Flynt had to accept an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, but after just two months of civilian life, enlisted in the U.S. Navy, becoming one of the top navy radar operators.
Two very different men, John Glenn and Larry Flynt, found their lives very strangely related for their common efforts in the pioneering early days of the U.S. space program, While John Glenn was involved in his heroic orbit of the Earth, Larry Flynt was a major part of the ground crew responsible for Glenn’s safety.