Smith/McCool Award Luncheon – UPDATE

Every year the chapter presents the 1/c Midshipman from our region with the highest order of merit with the Smith/McCool Award.  The award is named in honor of the astronauts Michael Smith (Class of 1967) and William McCool (Class of 1983) who tragically died in the space shuttle Challenger and Columbia disasters respectively.  With the award, we present the Midshipman with a Navy or Marine Corps Officer sword.

Join us as we recognize Midshipman 1/c Michael Kurp with this year’s award and a special presentation by Captain, Michael Coats, USN (Ret).  Here are the details:

  • Monday, January 3: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • Taste of Texas – 10505 Katy Fwy. Houston, TX 77024
  • $30 per person, advance purchase 
  • $5 OFF for TxGC member
    • Disc. code sent via email newsletter
  • Lunch provided by Taste of Texas
  • Limited attendance, very limited walk-ups

Midshipman 1/c Michael Kurp
This year’s recipient, Michael Kurp of Oak Forest, is a Computer Engineering major with a minor in Russian.  Michael has served as a Sea Trials Company Commander and Battalion Training Officer and will be 18th Company’s Operations Officer during the spring semester.  He will begin work on a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland through the Voluntary Graduate Education Program (VGEP) this spring.  When studies and Academy responsibilities allow, he participates in the Muay Thai ECA, reads, plays guitar, and rock climbs.  Michael will commission into the Marine Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant with a cyber contract this May.

Captain Michael Coats, USN (Ret)
Coats graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968 and commissioned into the Navy as a Naval Aviator.  As an A-7E pilot, he flew 315 combat missions in Southeast Asia from 1970-1972.  After time as a flight instructor and test pilot, Coats was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1978.  He flew in three space shuttle missions, STS-41-D in 1984, STS-29 in 1989, and STS-39 in 1991. Coats retired from the Navy and the astronaut corps in 1991.  He worked for several air and space companies before returning to NASA in 2005 to serve as the 10th Director of the Johnson Space Center until his retirement in 2012.  You can read more of NASA’s biography of Coate’s impressive career here.

We hope to see you all there.