Two Tennessee soldiers make cut for Mars mission - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Two Tennessee soldiers make cut for Mars mission

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Heidi Beemer, a first lieutenant with Fort Campbell’s 63rd Chemical Company, showed off some of her memorabilia of a life spent chasing the dream of going to Mars. Photo by Philip Grey/Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle Heidi Beemer, a first lieutenant with Fort Campbell’s 63rd Chemical Company, showed off some of her memorabilia of a life spent chasing the dream of going to Mars. Photo by Philip Grey/Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle

CLARKSVILLE, TN (WBIR) - Out of a pool of 200,000 worldwide applicants from 140 countries, 1,058 were selected to go forward with interviews and medical screenings for a possible privately funded manned Mars mission.

Fort Campbell is home to two of them.

Heidi Beemer, a 25-year-old first lieutenant with Fort Campbell's 63rd Chemical Company, has been waiting for the opportunity to become a "Martian" since she was 8 years old and saw a newspaper article about a Mars Rover mission.

The second Fort Campbell candidate, Chief Warrant Officer 4 David Thomas Woodward, was in transit to Afghanistan with his unit, C Company, 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade "Wings of Thunder."

It is the fifth deployment for Woodward, a UH-60 Maintenance Test Pilot, including three deployments in Iraq and a previous tour in Afghanistan.

In an e-mail notifying The Leaf-Chronicle of his acceptance, Woodward stated, "I have been interested in Mars and even more so since reading Robert Zubrin's 'The Case for Mars' years ago."

The book is also among fellow candidate Beemer's favorites.

Regarding qualifications and experience, Woodward wrote, "I have two BAs in psych (psychology) and philosophy. I also have my MBA. Prior to PCSing (permanent change of station) to Campbell, I was stationed at Redstone Arsenal in the Utility Helicopter Project Office for two years, working several programs for the future of Army Aviation to include the H-60 Digitization program.

"I was formerly a PSYOP (psychological operations) specialist active duty and a Power Generation Equipment Repairer in the Reserves."

For round one of the application process, Beemer believes that the psychological aspect was the major factor.

"I think the biggest deciding factor was weeding out people who were serious versus not serious," the Hampton, Va., native said.

"I think a lot of people who applied were not taking the actual full weight of the decision into consideration, so there was a lot of 'celebrity-ism" and wanting to be part of a movement.

Read more at WBIR's website.

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