Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is a U.S. Navy combat veteran, former test pilot, and retired NASA astronaut.
As a naval aviator, Capt. Kelly made two deployments to the Persian Gulf on the aircraft carrier USS Midway and flew 39 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm. He attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School from June 1993 to June 1994 and has logged more than 5,000 hours in more than 50 different aircraft and has over 375 carrier landings.
The winner of many awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross, Capt. Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011.
Capt. Kelly has spent more than 50 days in space and is one of only four individuals who has visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. Capt. Kelly’s identical twin brother, Scott Kelly, is also an astronaut and recently completed a 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station. They share the distinction of being the only siblings who have traveled to space.
Capt. Kelly was thrust into the national spotlight in January 2011 after his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in an assassination attempt in Tucson, Arizona.
In January 2013, in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Capt. Kelly and former Rep. Giffords co-founded Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence to encourage elected officials to stand up for laws that make communities safer from gun violence.
Capt. Kelly received a Bachelor of Science in marine engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and a Master of Science in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. The son of two police officers, Capt. Kelly is a native of West Orange, New Jersey. He lives in Tucson with his wife and their dog Nelson.
Capt. Kelly and former Rep. Giffords will speak at the Civic 50 Gala.