NASA chief to be keynote speaker
NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr., a Columbia native, will be the featured speaker at this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Business and Professional Breakfast, making him the annual event's second consecutive keynote speaker from the aerospace sector.
Last year, Boeing Vice President and General Manager Marco Cavazzoni delivered the keynote address.
The breakfast is a major fundraising event for the YWCA of Greater Charleston, and is co-sponsored by the city. The 11th annual breakfast will be held on Jan. 18 and is typically one of the largest events surrounding the King holiday weekend.
Other events include afternoon worship services across the tri-county area this Sunday, a musical tribute on Jan. 15, a communitywide ecumenical service on Jan. 16 and a parade on Jan. 17.
"We are so honored to have General Bolden join us as a speaker for the MLK Breakfast," Mayor Joe Riley said Wednesday.
"He embodies the drive, ambition, achievement and dedication that King spoke of and is a remarkable role model for every American."
Bolden has had a 34-year career in the Marine Corps, including 14 years as a member of NASA's Astronaut Office, according to NASA.
He flew combat missions over Vietnam, served as a test pilot and has gone into orbit four times on Space Shuttle missions, twice as mission commander.
Bolden's NASA biography notes that he served as commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait in 1998, then was named deputy commander of U.S. forces in Japan.
He later served as the commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego from 2000 to 2002, before retiring from the Marine Corps in 2003.
Bolden's military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552.