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Mark is the son of two police officers. Growing up, he and his twin brother Scott learned the importance of a hard day’s work. Mark’s family struggled at times to make ends meet, and he began working at the Dairy Queen when he was a teenager before becoming an EMT.
Mark attended public schools from elementary school through the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Mark earned his B.S. degree in marine engineering and nautical science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and later an M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
In the Navy, Mark served as a combat pilot and flew 39 missions in Operation Desert Storm on the aircraft carrier USS Midway. He has logged more than 5,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft and completed over 375 carrier landings. Mark is the recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and multiple Air Medals.
In 1996, Mark was selected as an astronaut for NASA in the same class as his twin brother Scott. He flew his first of four missions into space in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour and a decade later commanded the Space Shuttle’s final mission. He spent more than 50 days in space and lived on the International Space Station.
Mark and Gabby were married in 2007. After an assassination attempt nearly took Gabby’s life, she retired from Congress, but has continued her important work and remains Mark’s partner and best friend.
In 2011, Mark retired from NASA after commanding the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final flight. In all, he served 25 years in the Navy and at NASA, where he learned the importance of quick thinking, working together to get the job done, and serving our country.
Gabby and Mark live in Tucson with their dog Nelson and they frequently play host to their new granddaughter, Sage. Mark’s daughter Claire recently graduated from Arizona State University and his oldest daughter Claudia, a student at the University of Arizona, lives in Tucson.
Mark took office in December 2020 after Arizonans elected him to fill out the remainder of the late Senator John McCain’s term. Taking office during a pandemic, Mark immediately got to work, reaching across the aisle to deliver results that put Arizona first.