PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Aerospace Medicine Institute (NAMI) dedicated and named its new Aerospace Medicine Academic Center Aug. 13 in honor of fallen Navy physician-astronauts from the space shuttle Columbia, Capt. Laurel B. Clark and Capt. David M. Brown.
Clark and Brown had both been assigned duty at NAMI prior to being selected for the astronaut program in April 1996. The two Navy doctors were among seven Columbia astronauts who died in the shuttle explosion above Texas, Feb. 1, 2003.
Clark's 9-year-old son, Ian, and Brown's brother, Douglas, unveiled a blue cloth above the entrance, introducing the Laurel B. Clark and David M. Brown Aerospace Medicine Academic Center.
Messages from an astronaut's perspective, written the day before Columbia's return to earth, from Clark and Brown, are featured on a plaque inside the academics center.
Vice Adm. Donald Arthur, Surgeon General of the Navy, attended the ceremony. He said dedicating the academic building to those who have served at NAMI and have gone on into the space program was appropriate.
"Clark and Brown are among the greatest of humankind - explorers," said Arthur.
"This is truly a fitting tribute to two great heroes," said Rear Adm. Nancy J. Lescavage, commander of the Naval Medical Education and Training Command.
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