Knoxville Native Talone Receives NASA Distinguished Service Medal
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - John J. "Tip" Talone Jr., a former NASA Kennedy Space Center leader, was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Service Medal during the Feb. 7 STS-122 space shuttle launch activities by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.
"Through his many years of service, Tip has made countless contributions to the space program. He is a highly respected leader, and this award recognizes the exceptional work he has done," said Kennedy's Center Director Bill Parsons.
The award is given to any federal service employee who, by distinguished service, ability or courage, has personally made a contribution representing substantial progress to the NASA mission. Talone received the recognition for exceptional service and unparalleled dedication to NASA and America's human space flight program.
"The medal was a total surprise. Although it's a tremendous honor for me, and very much appreciated, I consider it a tribute to the terrific teams I worked with over the years and through all the human space programs, specifically their dedication and extraordinary talent. It was a pleasure and a privilege to serve with them," Talone said.
While presenting Talone with the medal, Griffin said, "Tip is a guy who every time you talk to him he wants to tell you how it's really the team that did the job. My view is that, while that's true, there comes a time when you recognize that continuously outstanding performance by the team has something to do with leadership and Tip's been a leader around here for a very long time."
Talone's career spanned the history of the space program's most important achievements. At the time of his retirement in January 2008, he was the associate program manager for the Constellation Program at Kennedy. The organization plays a vital role in planning and creating required facilities, ground systems, and launch-related operations needed for NASA's lunar/Mars human exploration program.
Talone also served as director of International Space Station and payloads processing for five years. He was responsible for the management and integration, ground processing, testing and verification of station assembly elements prior to launch. Talone also served as the center's primary interface with the station international partners and space shuttle payload scientists.
Talone began his NASA career in 1965 and has held several key managerial positions. During his early years with the agency, Talone served in various capacities in the Saturn/Apollo lunar landing, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs. During his assignment to the Space Shuttle Program, he served as launch pad manager, shuttle operations integration manager and flow director for space shuttles Columbia, Discovery and Endeavour.
Throughout his career, Talone has received numerous awards including the prestigious Silver Snoopy Award, Spaceflight Awareness Leadership Award, Presidential Rank Meritorious and Distinguished Executive, and the 2004 Dr. Kurt H. Debus Award, to name a few.
Talone is a graduate of Knoxville Catholic High School and holds a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Tennessee. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, golf, fishing and snow skiing. Talone is single with three step-children: Audra, Phillip and Sarah Tamblyn. He is the son of the late Geraldine Johnson of Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the late John Talone Sr. of Knoxville.
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