Astronauts LCDR Conrad and LTC Cooper walk across the deck of USS Lake Champlain as the press and crewmembers watch.
LCDR Conrad was an avid pilot in college and earned a degree in aeronautical engineering at Princeton in 1953, at which point he joined the Navy. He excelled in flight school, became a carrier pilot, and a flight instructor/test pilot at Patuxent River Naval Air Station before being selected as an astronaut.
LTC Cooper received a degree in chemistry from the University of Washington. He became a naval aviator in 1953, serving at Jacksonville, Florida, Patuxent River, Maryland and Miramar, California before becoming an astronaut.