Randolph James "Komrade"[2][3] Bresnik (born September 11, 1967) is a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps and a NASA astronaut.[4] A Marine Aviator by trade, Bresnik was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Group 19 in May 2004.[5] Bresnik completed his Astronaut Candidate Training in February 2006.[4]


Bresnik was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky but considers Santa Monica, California to be his hometown.[4]

Bresnik graduated from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, California, in 1985. He then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from The Citadel in 1989, and later a Master of Science degree in Aviation Systems from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2002.[4] He then graduated from the Air War College in 2008. Randy is the first graduate of The Citadel to have the opportunity to fly in space.[6]

Bresnik's family includes his wife, Rebecca Burgin of Pompton Plains, New Jersey, a son Wyatt (2006), and a daughter Abigail Mae (2009) who was born while he was on orbit during STS-129. This marked the second time a space traveller became a parent while on orbit; it first happened when Franz Viehböck's daughter was born while he was in space in 1991. His father is Albert ‘Randy’ Bresnik. His second cousin is Robert Bresnik, a well-known artist in San Diego, California.

Marine Corps serviceEdit

In May 1989, Bresnik received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at The Citadel. After graduation he attended The Basic School (TBS) and Infantry Officers Course (IOC) at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Following Aviation Indoctrination and Primary flight training in Pensacola, Florida, he entered Intermediate and Advanced flight training in Beeville, Texas, and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1992.[4]

Bresnik then reported to the Navy Fighter/Attack Training Squadron VFA-106, Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida, for initial F/A-18 training. Upon completion of training he reported to Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron, VMFA-212 at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, then MCAS El Toro, California, and additionally MCAS Miramar, California, where he made three overseas deployments to the Western Pacific. While assigned to VMFA-212, he attended the Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course (WTI) and Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN).[4]

Bresnik was selected for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and began the course January 1999. After graduation in December 1999, he was assigned as a F/A-18 Test Pilot/Project Officer at VX-23, the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron (NSATS). While at Strike, Bresnik flew the F/A-18 A-D and F/A-18 E/F in all manners of flight test.[4]

In January 2001, he returned to the USNTPS as a Fixed-Wing and Systems Flight Instructor, where he instructed in the F/A-18, T-38 Talon, and T-2 Buckeye. Bresnik returned to NSATS in January 2002 to continue flight test on the F/A-18 A-F as the Platform/Project Coordinator.

In November 2002, he reported to Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11) as the Future Operations Officer. In January 2003, MAG-11 deployed to Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait. From Al Jaber, he flew combat missions in the F/A-18 with VMFA(AW)-225 in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Bresnik was the Operations Officer of VMFA-232 when he was selected for the astronaut program.

During his military service he was awarded: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V” (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), Presidential Unit Citation and various other service awards.

NASA serviceEdit

STS-129 EVA2 Randolph Bresnik 4

STS 129: Bresnik participates in the mission's second session of extravehicular activity

Bresnik was selected by NASA in May 2004 as an astronaut candidate. He was one of two pilots chosen in the Astronaut Class of 2004.[5] In February 2006, he completed Astronaut Candidate Training.[4] In November 2009, he flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-129. He participated in the second and the third spacewalks of the mission. Bresnik's two spacewalks totalled 11 hours and 50 minutes. His wife Rebecca gave birth to their daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik on 21 November 2009 at 11:04 p.m. CST, while he was on orbit.[7][8]

On June 10, 2014, NASA announced that Bresnik would command the NEEMO 19 undersea exploration mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, which began on September 7, 2014 and lasted seven days.[9][10]


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

This article incorporates text in the public domain from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

External linksEdit

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