John C. Fischbeck III, Master Mariner
John Fischbeck III, 59, is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in business administration and a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. His entire Navy service, 1965-1971, was spent aboard the aircraft carrier Yorktown.
In 1979, he completed training as a Merchant Marine Officer and today has achieved the highest rank in the commercial maritime industry, Master Mariner. At NASA/USA, he serves as solid rocket booster retrieval operations supervisor.
Let’s ask John what achieving Master Mariner means. John says, “Achieving Master Mariner is one of the most important goals in my life.” The term Master Mariner was introduced in the United States in the mid-19th century; earlier in England. Currently, a U.S. Master Mariner License is reserved for those few who have attained the level of Unlimited Master, as well as Unlimited Chief EngineerSenior. Traditionally, a person holding an unrestricted master’s license is called a Master Mariner. The term unrestricted indicates that there is no restriction of size, power or geographic location of the vessel on the license.
It is the highest level of professional qualification amongst mariners.
John has served as Master on all three booster recovery ships including the Liberty Star, Freedom Star and Independence. He has served on 125 booster recovery missions, more than any other member USA Marine Operations.
John’s current responsibilities include onboard Marine Operations Manager for the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) Retrieval Operations and External Tank (ET) Ocean Transportation Operations.
What does John like most about the job at sea? In his own words, “supporting America’s spaceflight program, the great team of people I work with, and the ever-changing conditions that confront us everyday. Challenge, Adjustment, Success!”
What does John like to do when not sailing with NASA? He ships out again…on ocean yacht racing, sail cruising and studying the guitar/banjo.