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John Glenn Hospitalized, Postpones Retirement from USMC

Feb. 29, 1964 - Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn postponed today his retirement from the Marine Corps for a month, apparently to avoid the risk of losing his disability benefits. The 42-year-old astronaut’s announcement was made at Grant Hospital following consultations with doctors and his advisers in his campaign for the Democratic Senatorial nomination. His retirement to enter politics was to have taken effect at midnight tonight. However, a concussion he sustained in a fall against a bathtub while attempting to fix a mirror in a hotel room has kept him in the hospital with an equilibrium disturbance. He gets dizzy when he moves.

The choice of whether to retire from the Marines immediately or remain on active duty pending final determination of his condition was offered to him earlier today in a telegram from Marine headquarters in Washington. The colonel had asked Marine authorities what avenues he could follow should he have to remain in the hospital. He decided to remain on active duty, he said, when doctors could not assure him his disability would be resolved in two to three weeks. However, he said, the lack of assurance for a quick recovery is not to be taken as evidence of serious complications. Marine retirement orders can be effective only on the first of each month.

The Ohio Democratic primary is May 5. Colonel Glenn is running against Senator Stephen Young, 74 years old.


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