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Eileen Collins
Eileen Collins
Space Shuttle commander, Columbia (1999) and Discovery (2005)

When I was a young child and teenager, my father drilled one thing into my head over and over again: Do what you to do; whatever you think is right. Don't follow the pack. That's tough advice for a teenager, but it's what made me take flying lessons when I was 19. No one gave me advice to go fly. No one. I just did it because I wanted to. And those flying lessons are what got me interested in the Air Force. I've never really wondered what my father's motivation was. I think he didn't want me to be a follower. He wanted me to be a leader. I do know that he was astonished that I went into the military to fly airplanes and became an astronaut.

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Last updated April 30 2008: 4:31 PM ET
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