Duke, who graduated from Farragut in 1953 as valedictorian, credits the leadership qualities he gained at Farragut as one of the reasons for eventually being selected by NASA into the astronaut program.
After graduating from Farragut, Duke went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1957 and a master’s from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964 and graduated from Aerospace Research Pilot School in 1965. NASA selected Duke as an astronaut in 1966. He served as capsule communicator for Apollo 11 in 1969 (the first moon landing) and as lunar module pilot of Apollo 16 in 1972.
“You’re learning to work as a team here at Farragut, and that’s exactly what we had at NASA. Keep in mind when I graduated from Farragut people did not know what an astronaut was, it was not something you prepared for, but Farragut prepared me for life. I am so thankful to my parents for making the sacrifice for me to go to Farragut. It prepared me for the Naval Academy and for life after it.”