Commander Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, retired US Navy Captain, best selling-author, prostate cancer survivor, and an experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. The winner of many awards, including the Legion of Merit, two Defense Superior Service Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. With 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft, 375 aircraft carrier landings, 39 combat missions and more than 50 days in space, Astronaut Mark Kelly is one of our country's most experienced pilots.
Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was first elected to Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat in 2006 and won reelections in 2008 and 2010. Upon entering Congress, Giffords quickly became a leading champion of border security, energy independence, and the needs of military families and veterans. Having represented thousands of military families and veterans in Southern Arizona, Giffords served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittees on Air and Land Forces and Military Readiness. She worked closely with Army and Air Force officials at Southern Arizona's critical installations: Fort Huachuca, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and the 162nd Air National Guard. She took on the concerns of Southern Arizona's soldiers and airmen as her own; representing their interests and the needs of their families in Washington was her passion and privilege.
On January 8, 2011, a would-be assassin opened fire at a local event in Tucson, where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Six people were killed, and 13 others were injured in the attack. Among the injured was Giffords, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head and faced immediate neurosurgery to treat her life-threatening injuries. That Gabby Giffords survived the attack is remarkable. Her return to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives less than seven months after her injury to vote on the controversial debt ceiling legislation has been described as miraculous. Her road to this unprecedented recovery speaks volumes to her strength, temerity, and indomitable will to survive. Upon stepping down, she announced, "I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."
In their best-selling memoir, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords share their story of hope and resilience with the world. The inspirational memoir has topped multiple best-seller lists, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon. Kelly and Giffords have captivated the nation with their story, appearing in an exclusive Diane Sawyer interview, and on Nightline and The Daily Show, among others, and have appeared on the covers of People and USA Today. Named one of Esquire's 2011 "Americans of the Year," Kelly was also featured on the cover of and profiled in the magazine. He published his first children's book in October 2012, titled Mousetronaut: A Partially True Story.
A sought-after keynote speaker, Mark Kelly is an American hero who inspires others to be their best while remaining true to their core values. He exemplifies leadership, the importance of teamwork, and courage under pressure. Together with his wife he speaks about goals, perseverance, and managing difficult situations.