The following article appeared in the U.S. Marshals Service Monitor (September – October 2001)
Honorary U.S. Marshal brings his badge with him on space shuttle mission
America’s Star has now been in outer space. Worn proudly by Jim Reilly, the only person in the universe who can lay claim to being both an astronaut and a U.S. marshal, the badge of the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency now has yet another chapter in its long, distinguished history.
Making a connection
Reilly has been a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut since 1995, but it was a predicament nearly three years afterwards that brought him in contact with the Marshals Service and eventually led to his being named as the seventh-ever honorary U.S. marshal.
While having no reservations whatsoever about orbiting 276 miles above the earth in a space shuttle, the Mesquite, Texas, native utterly dreaded speaking in front of large audiences. And astronauts are always in demand to talk before groups.
“Public speaking was probably my only fear,” he said. “It took everything I could do to get up and speak in those situations.”
Dr. Bill Wallisch, who has taught public speaking courses to Marshals Service employees, astronauts and many others, was seeking a good venue for Reilly to hone his oratorical skills. He thought of his close friend Duke Smith, Marshals Service associate director at the time. From this link grew the idea to have Reilly speak at several agency management seminars in 1999.
In Palm Springs, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Jacksonville, Fla., Reilly gave presentations on how teamwork in space is the key element to success.
“You get to know the crew better than your family in many ways. In different situations, you learn how they will act and react and you feed off of each other.
“It’s a blast.”
His presentations were well received. And Reilly said it was surely he who benefited – and more so than by simply enhancing his public speaking skills.
“I enjoyed the heck out of [the seminars],” he said. “The best part was sitting around with the guys and talking with them.”
He established a friendship with Smith and others during the seminars that continues to this day. It was Smith’s idea to make him an honorary marshal.