Pantheon these are gritty people • luck is an illusion

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gritfire MLK profile sepiaMartin Luther King, Jr. was an advanced academic student who skipped two high school grades and entered college early - at age 15. After college at Morehouse he earned a doctorate degree in theology from Boston University.

King at first led an unsuccessful struggle against segregation in Georgia in 1962, and organized nonviolent protests in Alabama that attracted national attention following television news coverage of the brutal police response.

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Apollo 13

Apollo 13 crew.In April 1970, en route to the Moon, approximately 200,000 miles from Earth, astronauts James A. Lovell, John "Jack" Swigert and Fred W. Haise heard a "loud bang," accompanied by fluctuations in electrical power and firing of the attitude control thrusters.

In fact, the number-2 oxygen tank, one of two in the Service Module, had exploded. The resulting fire rapidly increased pressure beyond its limits and popped bolts attaching the outer aluminum skin panel, which as it blew off caused damage to the nearby antenna used for communications. Communications and telemetry to Earth were temporarily lost. The remaining fuel cell shut down and left the Command Module on limited-duration battery power.

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Jeremiah A. Denton

gritfire denton 2Jeremiah A. Denton was born in Mobile, Alabama. His father changed jobs frequently and he attended more than a dozen grammar schools. His family constantly moved and lived out of hotel rooms. His father left the family when Denton was still a child, and his parents divorced.

In 1965, Denton was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and naval aviator when he was shot down south of Hanoi, Vietnam. The father of seven at the time, he was flying an A-6 Intruder when his plane came under antiaircraft attack. He ejected and was captured.

Denton was incarcerated in prisons for the next nearly eight years, four of which were spent in solitary confinement. Living in roach-and rat-infested conditions, he endured starvation, delirium and torture sessions that sometimes lasted days.

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Gordon "Gordy" Ainsleigh

Gritfire Gordy AinsleighIn 1955, a party of five horsemen rode the rugged Western States Trail from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California proving that horses could still cover 100 miles in one day (24 hours). This subsequently became the annual Western States Trail Ride.

In 1974, Gordon "Gordy" Ainsleigh entered the 100 mile ride for the fourth time. His horse had gone lame earlier and undaunted, he decided to see if he could start and complete the rugged 100 mile mountain horse trail entirely on foot. For six weeks he ran the last 40 miles of the Western States Trail and toed the line with the horses on August 3, 1974.

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This list is compiled for editorial purposes only. The photographs and likenesses used are for non-commercial, educational, descriptive and visual references of a specific person or newsworthy event in our modern times or in history. These people have not licensed their names or likenesses to, nor are they affiliated or associated with GritFire.

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