USPA Mourns Passing of Joe Kittinger
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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
USPA Mourns Passing of Joe Kittinger

USPA Mourns Passing of Joe Kittinger

Homepage USPA
Friday, December 9, 2022

USPA is saddened to announce that Colonel Joseph Kittinger, B-6215 and Honorary D-102800, passed away at age 94. Kittinger rose to fame on August 16, 1960, when, as an U.S. Air Force Captain involved in Project Excelsior (meaning “ever upward”), he made a long, lonely leap from a helium balloon 102,800 feet above the Earth.  Kittinger’s record for highest-altitude jump stood for 52 years.

Kittinger has a long and decorated career with the Air Force, retiring as a Colonel in 1978 after serving three tours in Vietnam as a pilot. He remained involved in aviation projects, especially ballooning, after his retirement. He was quick to help other aviators, and served as Felix Baumgartner’s personal advisor when he broke the high-altitude record with the Red Bull Stratos project in 2012.

Kittinger was the recipient of the prestigious A. Leo Stevens Parachute Medal for his work with Project Excelsior, and the International Skydiving Museum inducted him into the inaugural class of its Hall of Fame in 2010.

A memorial service will be planned for January. USPA will provide an update on details when they are available.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

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