Homer H. Hickam Jr. was born in 1943 in Coalwood, Va. and earned a degree in industrial engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1964. He served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1972, rising to the rank of captain. Hickam also served as an engineer at the Army Missile Command in Huntsville, Ala. and with the Army Corps of Engineers in West Germany. He has been with NASA since 1981. Homer Hickam is a rare combination of practicing scientist and literate storyteller. As a NASA trainer he has taught astronauts to walk on the moon. As an author he has written a poignant, personal memoir about how he became an aerospace engineer. In Rocket Boys (1998) Hickam tells how his fascination with rockets began in the 50s Sputnik space race, developed into a teenage rocket club, and led to Hickams winning a gold and a silver medal at the National Science Fair in 1960. His inspiring story, told with honesty and humor, had its beginnings as an article in Smithsonians Air and Space magazine in 1994 and is being adapted as a motion picture. Hickams other book Torpedo Junction: U-Boat War Off Americas East Coast, 1942 (1989) is also praised as a literary achievement. It is a fascinating, fast-paced narrative that draws on his background as a scuba diver and explorer of sunken ships. Hickam has also written several shipwreck articles for major magazines.