McDivitt was awarded two NASA Distinguished Service Medals; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals; four Distinguished Flying Crosses; five Air Medals; the Chong Moo Medal from South Korea; the USAF Air Force Systems Command Aerospace Primus Award; the Arnold Air Society JFK Trophy; the Sword of Loyola; the Michigan Wolverine Frontiersman Award; and USAF Astronaut Wings.
He has logged over 5,000 flying hours.
He was command pilot for Gemini 4, a 66-orbit 4-day mission that began on June 3 and ended June 7, 1965. McDivitt became the first of his group to be named as commander of his own mission. Highlights of the mission included a controlled extra-vehicular activity period and a number of experiments.
On June 3, 1965, Gemini-4 was launched into orbit 150 miles above the Earth's surface. Rookie astronauts McDivitt and White were headed for the USA's first long-duration flight, the first to attempt extensive visual observations and photography. On the second day, over Hawaii, the 35-year-old McDivitt reported seeing an object -- "like a beer can with an arm sticking out" -- which NASA officials later announced had been identified by Air Force space radars as the thousand-mile-distant Pegasus-2 (but that range was too great, it turned out, for McDivitt's object to have been the winged Pegasus satellite). Together with a mysterious "tadpole" photo, the McDivitt report has achieved UFO superstardom and has been firmly enshrined in UFO literature and lore. Source: Gordon Cooper wrote in his memoirs that as far as he knows, it is the only officially reported account of a UFO in any of the Mercury, Gemini or Apollo missions.
After Gemini 4, he, along with Astronaut Group 3 astronauts David Scott and Russell Schweickart were named as members of the backup crew to the ill-fated Apollo 1 mission, but were replaced by Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham as backups and instead, were named prime crew members of the Apollo 2 mission. After the Apollo 1 fire, the backup Apollo 1 crew flew as the prime crew for Apollo 7 and McDivitt served as commander of Apollo 9, a 10-day earth orbital flight launched on March 3, 1969. Originally to be the second manned flight, as Apollo 8, the Lunar Module that was having problems and with the possibilities of a Soviet Moonshot by the end of 1968, NASA decided to make Apollo 8 a circumlunar flight, and offered the flight to McDivitt and his crew, which they declined since they were training to fly the first LM since 1966. The revised Apollo 8 flight went to Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders, and the Earth-orbital LM test flight became Apollo 9.
After Apollo 9, McDivitt became Manager of Lunar Landing Operations in May 1969, and led a team that planned the lunar exploration program and redesigned the spacecraft to accomplish this task. In August 1969, he became Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program and was the program manager for Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. He would have been slated to fly to the moon as Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 14 flight, but a fall-out with Shepard (who was the number two astronaut after Deke Slayton), as well as an attempt to ground Gene Cernan, the backup Apollo 14 commander and later the Apollo 17 commander, led to his resignation as Apollo Program Manager .
He retired from the USAF and left NASA in June 1972, to take the position of Executive Vice-President, Corporate Affairs for Consumers Power Company. In March 1975, he joined Pullman, Inc. as Executive Vice-President and a Director. In October 1975 he became President of the Pullman Standard Division, The Railcar Division, and later had additional responsibility for the leasing and engineering and construction areas of the company. In January 1981 he joined Rockwell International where he is presently Senior Vice President, Government Operations and Rockwell International Corporation, Washington, D.C.
Source: A NASA biography page