Vance Brand was born in Longmont, Colorado on May 9, 1931. His grandparents Frank and Alma Brand moved to Boulder County in the late 1890s. After working as a stage coach driver in Boulder, Frank bought a farm in Hygiene, Colorado. Vance’s maternal grandparents, Fred and Millicent Devoe immigrated from Ohio in 1913. They lived in Ft. Lupton, and later moved to Longmont, where Fred was the District Manager of northern Colorado for Libby-McNeill-Libby.
Vance attended elementary school in Longmont during the 1940s and graduated from Longmont High School. He attended University of Colorado, Boulder, achieving a B.S. in Business in 1953. He received another B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from UCB in 1960. He received a MBA from UCLA in 1964.
Brand was in the U.S. Marines from 1953 to 1957 and a pilot in the National Guard from 1964. From 1960-1966 he was a flight test engineer with Lockheed Martin. In 1966 he was accepted into N.A.S.A. In 1975 he commanded Apollo Soyuz. In 1982 he commanded STS-5 on Colombia. In 1984 he commanded STS 41-B on Challenger. In 1990 he commanded STS-35 on Columbia.
His flight experience includes 9,669 flying hours, which includes 8,089 hours in jets, 391 hours in helicopters, 746 hours in spacecraft, and checkout in more than 30 types of military aircraft. Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado, is named in his honor.
Sources: Forward of the “Longmont Album: History and Folklore of the St. Vrain Valley” by Betty Ann Newby and the Biography section of N.A.S.A. website, updated in June 2001. Photos: Longmont Museum & Cultural Center.