MARSHALL W. ATKINS, LCDR, USN
Marshall Atkins '80
Date of birth: April 4, 1957
Date of death: April 21, 1993
From the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Wall of Honor:
LCDR Marshall W. Atkins (4-4-57 to 21-4-93), the son of a career Army Officer, grew up in Germany, Liberia, Korea and several locations in the USA. LCDR Atkins was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1980 and later earned a MS degree in Aviation Systems Engineering from the Univ. of Tennessee. He completed basic flight training at Pensacola Naval Training Facility and proceeded to Meridian, MS for advanced flight training, qualifying in T-2, TA-4 and the S-3 jet aircraft.
LCDR Atkins served on the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and was selected to attend the U. S. Navy Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD where he remained as an instructor/test pilot. He served aboard the Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) flying the A-6 Intruder fighter-bomber for Attack Squadron 36 (VA-36), where he participated in one of the most decisive victories in modern warfare flying numerous missions during Operation Desert Storm. He also participated in operations Desert Shield and Provide Comfort flying A-6 missions. He was later assigned to the A-6 attack squadron 34 on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73), his third assignment aboard a newly commissioned U.S. Navy nuclear aircraft carrier.
LCDR Atkins was selected as an Astronaut candidate for both the pilot and mission specialist programs. However, his untimely death in 1993 while on a training mission at Nellis AFB, NV, put an end to his many lofty aspirations. LCDR Atkins was married to the former Diane Watson and had one son, Shawn. When asked why he chose to become a pilot, he unhesitatingly replied, "It was a dream I had since childhood."